But there is little mention of specific vintages (something that will date a wine book quicker than anything) and few descriptive wine tasting notes, although these do punctuate the writing. Instead little snippets of a wine tasters encounter enliven each recommendation.
For example under a listing for a McLaren Vale Shiraz is a little tale concerning a disgruntled Belgian wine dealer who was embarrassed by failing to spot a Bordeaux when served blind, declaring it a Pinot Noir, under Château d’Angludet Hoggat relates his encounter with a “gnarled old winemaker” who spoke bitterly about the “kind of people they were now obliged to employ at harvest time. “Students!” he said. “In the old days we could still get local people. For breakfast they had sausage and a bottle of wine. This lot expect – and here the greatest scorn came into his voice – croissants and coffee!”.
Some descriptions offer a little snippet of wine knowledge, “The wine is around 40 per cent Merlot and slightly less Cabernet Sauvignon, which means it’s softer than, say, most Medocs” (Mulderbusch Faithful Hound from Stellenbosch) others an indication of why the wine is included “He makes only 25 hectolitres of wine for every hectare of land – much less than is allowed, very roughly half the local average – and it is gorgeous, being robust, warm and with that heady whiff of perfume that lifts a wine from being something nice to swig into something delightful to sip” (Hegarty Minervois, Languedoc).
Simon Hoggart is wine correspondent for the Spectator and has been running the magazine’s wine club since 2001. Simon is also a frequent broadcaster on vinous topics. His is also parliamentary sketch-writer and weekly columnist for the Guardian and author of 16 other books on many and varied subjects that have attracted his sharp focus and sardonic wit. But this is his first book on wine.
The Warwick Estate Pinotage “However some people – a minority, to be sure – liked the muddiness. Anothony Mitchell of El Vino’s once told me that he had a customer who complained about his Pinotage. “Haven’t you got anything muddier?” he asked in the manner of someone in a grubby raincoat asking for something stronger in a Soho porn store”
Life’s Too Short to Drink Bad Wine by Simon Hoggart is published on the 15th September 2009. It is available to pre-order from Amazon.co.uk for £11.69.
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