Eating and drinking in and around Bournemouth has always been an activity fraught with danger and I was quite right in taking my old (& trusted) friends suggestion with at least a little caution. He had suggested the ‘Cow’, the new pub come bistro come gastro watering hole.
Sensing a pause, pregnant by any means, Adam held the idea hanging whilst I flashed through the annals of a memory, much ravaged by time, to see if any justification beyond outright benefit-of-doubt, could be sought.  It was Sunday, late morning and our palates were certainly more than a little demanding.
My last trip to the Cow, a not too large but spacious pub (bar, bistro, etc…), was sometime ago at peak hours and I remember an almighty crush by the door.  At lunchtime on Sunday I am pleased to note that we were able to gain a yard or two of table and sink into the Sunday paper whilst our table readied itself.  In the interval we wetted our tongues with a couple of local Ringwood beers and it was no time at all until the table was ready and Adam had already began perusing the wine list.  In most cases, it is the wine list of such places that manage to contain “the rub”. I can, with some relief, state that at the Cow, the wine list demonstrates both variety and a little adventure.  At the quaffing end of the wine list the wines appear to be very good value and at the far extreme, the Petrus didn’t appear too over priced.  However, with a budget that suits my years, I suggested to Adam that we hover in the mid range, and to start we opted for a Chatuea Haut Gravet, 2001 vintage from Saint Emillion.  

Friends dining out together in the absence of their partners appreciate a little more attendance than is normal, and with my partner entertaining the Spanish on holiday in Seville and Adam’s ensconced in the bosom of her forebears, this was to be no unusual situation.  To add to this, it is worth considering that two identically built houses, one built in the backyard of Chernobyl and the other facing a view of forty miles of countryside and lakes, will command differences in price of great enormity.  So, it is with this in mind that I commend the management at this eatery for employing staff that carry many elements configured in line with divine proportion.  Marry with this, smiles, politeness and efficiency, and you will find two happy and grateful customers!

My fellow diner was discussing at length his interest in procreation and the effects it has on at this most potent period of our lives.  This is a time of great pontificating as choices must made, whilst in the background, the body clock chimes with knowing insouciance.  As mortal’s choices are best left to those in higher office (the ladies) and as by way of consolation we (the fellers) are presented with wines to ease our suffering.  This St Emillion compensated by many degrees.  To the nose it exuded the complexity that differentiates (in my view) the old world produce from the new.  The soil type was never more apparent and Adam remarked that it reminded him of a sun baked gravel driveway.  If ever the terroir was present in a glass and well balanced with a measure (not over powering) of blackcurrant and light plumy tones, then here it is; not too much make-up but enough to tease another bottle out of one!  

Having started to enjoy this wine, we were only just counting our blessings when more proceeded to appear.  The roast that was served before us was quite scrumptious.  I am a self confessed fusspot when it comes to Sunday roasts and can quite happily report that the Cow even cooks cauliflower superbly!  The lamb was a good cut and duelled perfectly with the wine.  So much so that noises and exclamations from our table were highly audible.  The first bottle ended demonstrating once more the brevity of existence and this time as I scrawled an eye over the list, I happened upon a Emina 2003 vintage, from the Ribero Del Duero in Spain at a fantastically reasonable price.  The creature of divine proportion was once more summoned to the table and made off with our order brandishing the carefree smile of altruistic service.  The second red beverage arrived and was poured… we sniffed… ummed, and tasted. The dark berry fruits of this now almost sacred region shone through and we began this course in earnest.  

This second bottle lasted well into the desert; a solitary ball of ice-cream for Adam and an apple crumble or other for myself.  The tenacity of the wine mingled with bready-ness of the crumble and kept me in fine fettle.  I not sure that another bottle of the Ribero del Duero was not ordered but I cannot quite remember, however, in answer to you on the evolution of the species and continuation of our kind, in your case Adam, I fear it may be a great disappointment to your Swiss relatives that prophesised at your wedding with a washing line and infantile clothing about your fecund nature… best crack on!


Chateau Haut Gravet 2001 Grand Cru, St Emillion:  £32
Emina, 2003, Ribera del Duero: £24

The Cow Bar & Bistro

Tel: 01202 749569

58 Station Road,
BH14 8UD

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COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

Climate change podcast

Last week a picture was posted on Twitter of vines in Shabo, a large estate that lies to the west of Odesa on southern Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline. The image seemed benign at face value but the reality, of course, is that the city of Odesa has been bracing itself for attack by Russian forces. 


As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.



Britain’s lamentable exit

On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.

I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!


Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.


Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.


The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.


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