Christmas has come upon me fast and hard with little regard for my feelings or my advanced senses of spacial awareness. No, in fact this mass of much or nothing has washed over in successive meals, toys, toys and meals and many a combination of salutatory drinks.

Not wanting to sound down hearted, I am far from it, for I'm sat by a warm fire in a rural Cornish bolt hole with the wines of my choosing at close call, and those of my familial host readily advancing. We're planning a scour of the Cornish environs for food and wine that starts tomorrow. St Kew Inn in St Kew is tomorrow for lunch. An old favourite and one that should be on everyone's list of Britain's top ten pub list. That followed by the Three Mackerel in Falmouth. Great seafood with the namesake being an obvious choice. I'll likely be starting with half a dozen Duchy's and a bottle of SB from somewhere pleasant.

The wines chosen especially for this sojourn are also enticing me:

The Marques De Vargas, 2003 from Rioja in magnum format – should be lipliciously spectacular!

Erial, 2007, Bodegas Epifanio Rivera from Ribera Del Duero- faves in the stemless Riedel's !!

Chateau Peymartin, Saint Julian, 2004 in magnum – licking and puckering

Clos Floridene, Graves, 2004 – fingers crossed for decent fruit to balance the inevitable terrior!

There were more but there are now few whites:

The Dr Wagner Riesling, Mosel, from Waitrose – finished and beautiful

Saint Veran, Les Morats, 2008 – Pouilly Fuisse style which is my secret private passion (love me tender, love me taste!)

Diemersdal Chardonnay 2008, S Africa – this was bought for the New Years Eve tasting to compare with the St Veran. I opened a bottle tonight and three of us at the table loved it (the others were not drinking it).

Other wines than have sneaked over the precipice this Christmas have been the 2005 Muga Reserve, various Grand Cru St Emilion (they seem to be everywhere) typically destined by low price and abundance of production to be good quaffing wines, and lots of sparkly wines – so varied they warrant another post.

As this week draws on then it is everyone's duty who is able, to succour the wines at hand and in someway report back how good or bad they are. Hopefully next year will be the year of cross suggested wines! All wines were obtained from Majestic Borough (about to close her doors to the public), and Waitrose.

Much love..


Add your name to our confidential database to receive more tips from Secret sommelier:

Carluccio's deli and restaurants are a high-street staple, where great flavours in food blend easily with quality wines on the list. Following the death of the charismatic founder, Antonio Carluccio, his spirit lives on in style and philosophy. Nick Breeze talks to Head of International Operations (especially where wine is concerned!), Mike Stocks about wine-list tips, food matching and the great man of "mof mof":


Winemaker and owner Nicola D’Auria greeted us at the entrance of this fascinating cantina. The winery and cellars have been designed by Rocco valentini in the shape of a vertical barrel in order to immerse the tasters senses in wine.


East from Roma to Abruzzo

From Rome we headed east to Abruzzo, a region of Italy that rises up like a burly landlord to greet the traveller. The Apennine mountains at their tops are stark and beautiful, lonely, yet fulsome. Rustic doesn’t quite do this landscape justice. It’s a place for pilgrims, peace lovers and, of course, we followers of Bacchic and gastronomic pleasure.


After days of picking grapes in one of the world’s most famous wine regions, the pickers get together to drink, chat and enjoy the drinks they are meticulously involved in the making of. 

Also check out local winemaker, Nico’s, top tip for a white Burgundy from Saint Aubin that you don’t have to travel to Burgundy to get!


What started in El Quatre Gats tapas bar in Barcelona, soon became an adventure in the Marche region of Italy, that lies along the east coast facing Albania across the Adriatic Sea. El Quatre Gats is famously where Picasso had his first solo exhibition as a young edgy artists in the Catalan capital and I was there dining with Dr Pia Casarini Wadhams, Director of Italy’s only Polar Institute, Il Polo.


The Palazzo is located in the centre of Fermo, a small Roman hilltop town with a rich history dating back to antiquity. Flying from abroad, Ancona is the closest airport, 67km north (about an hours drive) along the coast of the Adriatic sea.