‘Do you like Dickens, sir?’
‘I don’t know. I’ve never been to one.’
That was a favourite joke of Mr Jarvis, my A Level English teacher. To the degree, I seem to remember, that he had to ask someone in the class to provide him with the setup question in order that he might triumphantly deliver the punchline. Which is nice for you to know.
What’s also nice for you to know is that Copperfield Gin may be the most handsomely packaged gin I’ve seen. Obviously I dig it because it’s literary, innit, and given that my idea of a perfect sitting room is one bedecked with books floor to ceiling, how could I not be seduced by a book-themed gin bottle? Or, at least, one so bloody well executed. Hats off to the designers, who presumably like Dickens.
Continue reading “Copperfield Gin Review”
I mean, when a gin’s called Boxer, how am I meant to avoid the most bloody obvious metaphor? Christ. Give me something to work with. Fortunately, Boxer Gin does exactly that, in abundance, as soon as you get it into your gob. Here’s how it measures up.
I bought Boxer Gin because it was the gin of choice at Poco Tapas Bar, the excellent Bristolian tapas restaurant at which I first discovered the Negroni Manzanilla. And given my predilection for punchy gins and stooping to lowest-common-denominator wordplay, what could be more auspicious than a gin that is literally punchy?
Continue reading “Boxer Gin Review. Punchy or Paunchy?”
… is elegant and lithe and beautiful and charming as you like — but with that little glimmer of filth in its eye.
Okay. Let’s sprint through this one, shall we?
Pinot fucking noir. To get one thing out of the way: I love pinot noir. Christ alive, I love it. And this pinot noir is bloody delicious.
That’s probably all you need to know, isn’t it?
In case you’re still reading — rather than bombing down the A1 towards Stevenage in a hijacked articulated lorry in order to ramraid The Wine Society’s warehouse — I’ll give you a bit more. (And, um, they’ve sold out in any case. So save yourself the criminal record.)
It’s got that brilliant pinot noir tautness — a lithe-bodied, gymnastic suppleness — that I find goddamn bewitching. Then add that little spatter of muckiness. Oh, that sweet little spatter. Because this wine is as elegant and lithe and beautiful and charming as you like — but there’s that hint of filth in its eye. Goddamn.
So, yes, there’s the mellow red fruit, the ripeness. And there’s the earth, the muck, the sex.
★★★★★ 5 stars (outstanding)
£25 or so from The Wine Society
(no longer available, sadly, but you might want to try the ‘second wine’ from the same producer
); or Majestic
has the 2009 for £30; £24 each if you buy a couple. Which you should.
… doesn’t have that too-big-for-its-clingy-dress quality that some New World Rieslings have, thank the risen Lord
God alive, I love Riesling. Did I mention that before? Oh, fuck it, I don’t really care if I did.
And Spy Valley. We all remember Spy Valley Gewurtztraminer, right? Well, this is the Spies’ take on the Riesling grape. And — what do you know? — they made a good job of it: this wine is elegant, poised, fresh.
Grapefruit is (I’ll warrant) what you’ll notice caroming vengefully out of the glass towards you. Both nose-wise and in your mouth. And, yes, there’s that dab of sweetness that I hardly even want to mention because a woeful number of people are unaccountably terrified of the notion of a tiny dab of sweetness. I mean, Christ. This is the same civilisation which unaccountably fetishises bloody chocolate for pity’s sake. Ooh! Chocolate! So decadent! So sinful!
Get a life, won’t you?
But, yes, anyhow. This is a Riesling with balance. It doesn’t hang around in your gob quite as long as some Rieslings, but it’s not a flash in the pan, either. And not an ounce of the sweetness cloys. Not a sodding ounce.
This is a lot better than many of its ilk. It’s not monstrously complex, but it’s incredibly smooth and clean and beguiling. It doesn’t have that too-big-for-its-clingy-dress quality that some (overripe, over-alcoholled) New World Rieslings have. And I like it a fair old bit. But it’s quite expensive. Spend that much on a German Riesling and you could get an absolute goddamn blinder.
Or spend it all on chocolate, if you prefer. You massive great weirdo.
??? 3 stars (good)
£9.95 from The Wine Society
, £12.06 from Bibendum
… is a welcome contrast to some Sauvignon Blancs, that are a bit like ketamine-laced teenagers, spoiling for whatever it is ketamine-laced teenagers spoil for
Ah, that’s rather a lovely Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire. There’s the grass and the snap of it — but also a swoonsome waft of blossom. Suck’n’swirl and you may find yourself encountering bit of sweet, toffeed, fudgy stuff in there.
It’s quite soft, even if you let it linger — in contrast to some Sauvignon Blancs, that are a bit like ketamine-laced teenagers, spoiling for whatever it is ketamine-laced teenagers spoil for. You’ve seen them. The rap singers.
Yeah. It’s gently, restrained. Not too harsh or zingy — it nibbles rather than bites. Elegant. And fine, fine value for thy wodge.
**** 4 stars (very good)
£7.50 from The Wine Society
(link is to 2010 vintage, as 2009 is sold out)
… will light up all the buzzers on the pinball table of your palate. For under a tenner.
Le Fraghe. A wee blend of two grapes: corvina and rondinella. From somewhere between Venice and Milan.
And if it has Venice’s sunset-laced romance, it also has Milan’s fashionable, metropolitan elegance.
It’s gentle, toned, soft, pristine.
And it’s rather beautiful.
In your mouth, it’s full — yet light, elegant. There’s some subdued tannin; some savouriness, some meaty depth, some spice, liquorice. And a sustained, beautifully controlled diminuendo to finish.
Stick your snout in there and inhale the cooked (but not jammy) red fruits of a summer pudding.
I really enjoyed La Fraghe. It’s a wine that lights up all the buzzers on the pinball table of your palate. And I’d say it’s pretty damn good value for under a tenner.
Crack it out with food — nothing too honky or flavoursome, mind; probably lighter meats, fish — simple, honest ingredients, please; simply, honestly cooked …
… and (pooph!) you’re right there between Venice and Milan.
???? (4 stars)
£8.95 from The Wine Society