Scanning the wine shelves in supermarkets, it is worth noting the rising degrees of alcohol in the red wines.  We used to expect a red to be around 10-12 % alcohol but these days we can expect to be blasted away from wines sitting comfortably around 14.5% volume.  

At this level, if we are prepared to venture into the world of stronger wines, we should give a special curtsey to our old Portuguese friend, Port (approx. 20%vol. alc.).  The wines made along the banks of the Douro are stronger but not much more than many everyday wines we now consume.  What's more they can be absolutely mind-blowingly delicious!

Approaching Christmas many supermarkets will be offering good deals on Port so venture out to your local and see what's there.  My tip of the day is to buy a bottle of 'Late Bottled Vintage' Port, often labeled as 'LBV'.  This means that it was made in a year when the grape growing conditions were particularly good and the wines were perceived as showing it's best form.  The 'Late bottled' bit means that it was stored for an extended period of time in the barrel and then bottled later.  LBV wines tend to be sold at a reduced prices for normal declared vintage port, yet offer great complexity of flavour, richness and massive "one-more-glass" cognition.  

So go forth… get back into Port!

PS A few "don't do's":

1.  Don't have a small glass and then put the cork back in and save for ten years.  It will go off.  Plan to drink with a short period of opening.

2.  Serve in a proper tulip shaped wine glass like a Chianti glass from Riedel or Schott Zwiesel.  Serving port in tiny shot glasses is a crime and should be punishable.

*Pictured above Graham's LBV 2005 Port - See what's available in your local supermarket!

COPOUT Book by Nick Breeze

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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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