Food and Wine

I could probably sum up my approach to food & wine in fifty words, here goes. Acid likes fat (think vinegar on chips), tannin likes protein (red wine with steak), spice likes sweetness, cheese is generally better with something sweet and/or white than something dry and/or red, sweet foods need sweeter wines, and if your dish/wine wants to impress, the accompanying wine/dish shouldn’t be too assertive. Exactly fifty words, not bad Simon.

Pinched this from from Simon Woods’ email newsletter.

Oysters and Wine for Breakfast

Today, écailleur Louis is multitasking, shucking knife in one hand, bottle of muscadet in the other.

He assembles a cluster of happiness. The huîtres spéciales are sweeter than the Fines with their hint of iodine; raised off the coast of Normandy with the flavors of the Channel filtering through their bodies. Naturally spawned in April, they are now beautifully fat.

I prod with a terrifyingly sharp, candy-pink plastic shucking knife, trying not to cut my tongue while scraping the oyster into my mouth, adductor muscles and all. They are masculine, metallic, sea sweet, with a taste of noisette on the tongue.

Source: A Historic International Agreement Demands Oysters and Wine for Breakfast – Roads & Kingdoms

Oh, my!

Facing Wine

Never refuse wine. I’m telling you,
people come smiling in spring winds:
peach and plum like old friends, their
open blossoms scattering toward me,
singing orioles in jade-green trees,
and moonlight probing gold winejars.

Yesterday we were flush with youth,
and today, white hair’s an onslaught.

Bramble’s overgrown Shih-hu Temple,
and deer roam Ku-su Terrace ruins:
it’s always been like this, yellow dust
choking even imperial gates closed
in the end. If you don’t drink wine,
where are those ancient people now?

Li Bai (701–762)

The HoseMaster’s Guide to Drinking Wine at Home

Many people who profess to love wine only drink it on special occasions, or in church. But the authentic wine lover sees wine as an ordinary part of every meal, like bread or salt or long, uncomfortable silences. The confident wine lover knows that regular consumption of wine makes you an expert much as regular bathing makes you a mermaid.

via HoseMaster of Wine™: The HoseMaster’s Guide to Drinking Wine at Home.

Wine In The Bath

Then I came across this image and, having got myself soaked in summer rain, decided that drinking wine in a nice hot bath was a thing that needed investigating.

Nice post from Sediment.


Wine Tasting Idiots

My attention was drawn recently to the article Are Wine Tasters Idiots?, reprised from 2013 on Jancis Robinson’s website. The first part of the article lists several examples of the alleged idiocy: cheap wines being preferred over expensive ones, experts describing the same white wine differently simply because the wine in one glass was dyed red, inconsistent assessments of the same wine by different panels, and so on. (There’s more detail in the referenced article from The Observer.)

The author, Alex Hunt MW, then continues with, it seems to me, a slightly injured tone:

What I find so strange is the underlying assumption that wine criticism should be a scientific, repeatable process. I have not seen the same sort of expectations applied to art, film or music critics. Wine experts, it feels, are far more likely to be demonised as the ‘other’, when in fact we have far more rigorous tests of identification and knowledge. The type of tasting exams many of us have passed are, I submit, unflukeable.

[Read more…]

How Babycham changed British drinking habits

BBC News – How Babycham changed British drinking habits.

Oh dear, I’m older than Babycham!

Ce qui va vraiment saouler les français

Ce qui va vraiment saouler les français | Des mesures sont envisagées pour lutter contre le vin et non plus seulement contre la consommation excessive d’alcool.

The French Government seems to have it in for the wine industry, if this site is not misrepresenting the facts. The proposals include:

  1. Prohibiting talk about wine on the Internet
  2. Prohibiting promotion of wine in the media
  3. Increased taxation
  4. Radicalising (I assume that means really beefing up) the health message
  5. Stronger health warnings on bottles

Very odd approach to a country’s second largest export industry.

Marvellous Champagne

More on the delights and benefits of Champagne from Your Good Health!: Medicinal Benefits of Wine Drinking by Dr Maury:

You would do better to choose… (as an appetiser)… extra-dry Champagne which is heartily recommended for several reasons… this wine has a beneficial effect on the alimentary canal through its natural aeration. This acts on the stomach muscles which thus retain their suppleness and elasticity. (p 55)

I have already commented that the wines from the Champagne region, whether dry or extra-dry, have a beneficial effect, both chemical and mechanical, on the digestive system. They are therefore recommended for people suffering from flatulence and a bloated stomach. (pp 57-58)

… you should bear in mind the complications associated with this condition: arterial hypertension, the risk of narrowing of the coronary arteries and the possibility of a heart attack… your diet should be complemented by natural elements designed to strengthen the action of the heart and improve kidney function. You should therefore include the wines of the Champagne region, the extra-dry Champagnes of the Montagne de Reims, Côtes des Blancs or those of the Marne valley. (p 66)

… the sulphuric anions in Champagne wines activate the mechanisms of cellular oxidisation and give them purifying and cleansing properties. Finally, as dry white wines they possess powerful diuretic agents, helping to rid the body of its wastes. (p 66)

People who have mild rheumatism should opt, depending on personal taste, … for the ‘blancs de blancs’… of the Champagne region… (p 76)

Still with the same aim of restoring organic and functional order, never forget the beneficial effects of extra-dry Champagne, due to its natural phosphorus content. Its glucose and fructose content also helps to restore energy. (p 85)

On the other hand, if the mineral deficiencies are phosphatic salts, causing physical fatigue and mental depression, the Champagne wines are very suitable… They have the added bonus of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). The most noble of all, an extra-dry variety, should be chosen and two glasses may be taken as an apéritif. (p 91)

The good doctor recommends Champagne (usually extra-dry) for loss of appetite, cardiac problems, digestive ailments, rheumatoid arthritis, convalescence, detoxification, mineral deficiencies, hypertension and heart attack.

One final quote:

This spirit of creativity, drawn from the ‘divine nectar’ is evidence of an art of living and a joy in living. If it is sometimes hidden, it will always surface in those millions of bubbles that rise from a glass of Champagne. It took a man dedicated to God, Dom Pierre Pérignon, cellarer of the Abbey of Hautvilliers in the Marne district, inspired by the pagan influence of Bacchus, to blend the vintages of different varieties of wine. By this act of creation was born a beverage of incomparable quality, which can only be produced in the soil of Champagne. It does not need us to exalt its virtues and describe how it affects the emotional centres of the brain by arousing the noble functions of the spirit. (p 100)


Wine is the best medicine

Wine Shop in Rhodes












“… a meal washed down with water, even if it is served in a crystal carafe, is an unfortunate error in taste and a grave dietary error, as it is one of the causes of dyspepsia. Relying on this tasteless beverage affects the elasticity of the stomach cavity and changes the catalytic value (the ability to break down foods) of the digestive juices, apart from its negative influence at a psychological level which, in the habitual water drinker, may encourage a tendency to pessimism and introspection.”

Your Good Health!: Medicinal Benefits of Wine Drinking Dr E Maury