September 2021

Snobbery has existed in wine drinking since time immemorial. Louis XVI added the stem to goblets to avoid the hands of his servants 'contaminating' his wine, and the Macedonians were shunned by the Greeks for drinking their wine 'neat' - and not diluted as they did, to avoid intoxication.

I am no wine snob. In fact, as a bit of a cultural relativist; to each, his own, I say. The tastes and aromas, that 'feel-good' factor and the mutual appreciation of something special with good friends is of far greater value.

I must confess, however, that my liberal ‘Chacun son truc’ approach was challenged one evening on holiday when, impressed by the fine choice a fellow diner had made for a particularly fine Samuel Billaud Chablis, I watched him insert ice into his filled glass as he spoke, and down it like a cold beer.

Every man has his limits ...:)

August 2021

Often, as I open a bottle of wine, I pause to think of the journey that those 1200 grapes made to reach my lips.

The decades of experience, tireless maintenance and weather-watching that goes into ensuring the vines are happy until harvested.

The painstaking vinification processes from maceration to fermentation, pressing to maturation - all to free the aromas of fruitiness, perhaps vanilla, a little charcoal or chocolate.

Finally, after a long wait (some waits longer than others), that wonderful nectar is bottled and transported across the globe to the great anticipation of seasoned wine lovers like myself.

Really, when one considers all that goes into creating those rays of sunlight in one's glass, there should probably be jubilant fanfare. But in the absence of a trumpet, my respectful pause will have to do ... 

Salute.

July 2021

Something I’ve noticed from this last year of captivity is that we seem to be emerging with greater expectations: of ourselves; of others, and of life in general. Regardless of our experience of this period, many of us appear to have acquired the same yearning for 'better'. ‘How so, Gavin?’ I hear you ask.

Perhaps, if we’ve felt the frustration of captivity, our passion for exploration has been rekindled. Likewise, where we have actually enjoyed this time to reflect and recuperate, perhaps we are more determined to retain that feeling of contentment as normality returns. Either way, for many of us, our lives and priorities seem to have changed forever.

I have both loved and loathed our period of confinement, but some things have remained a constant. Quality of life for me involves finding happiness in the small things - particularly those of around 12” in height ..and filled by passionate artisans who, like me, will only settle for the best ...