Drink

In the midst of Brexit agony, one thing remains certain: disputation needs drink

15 December 2018 9:00 am

It is enough to drive a fellow to the bottle. I am not given to agnosticism. My view is that…

Why our soldiers are more impressive than every other kind of leader

8 December 2018 9:00 am

One of the pleasures of journalism is the opportunity to meet eminent persons: bankers, businessmen, civil servants, diplomats, politicians, vignerons.…

The paradox of Burgundy

24 November 2018 9:00 am

I was trying to remember what I once knew about the theology of the Reformation and especially the various factions’…

How violence in France led to the creation of London’s Courtauld Gallery

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Darkness, but not the blanket of the dark. This was a sinister darkness, beset by smoke and flames, by the…

Searching for God in the twilight on the Aegean Sea

27 October 2018 9:00 am

My friend Jonathan Gaisman recently gave rise to a profound philosophical question concerning wine. Jonathan is formidably clever. He has…

Disloyal toast: this is the worst cabinet vintage ever

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Drink and democracy have one important point in common: an ambivalent relationship with discord. They can mitigate it. They can…

Stockbridge, Hampshire: an unexpected gastronomical haven

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers / Pass me the bottle, old lad, there’s an end of summer.’…

My host’s reciprocity was almost embarrassingly generous

15 September 2018 9:00 am

Peace came dropping slow. I have never regarded west Flanders as part of la France profonde, but here we were,…

The great Seven Stars – but not, alas, its furry bar staff – is immune to change

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Roy Hattersley once wrote a plangent passage about a painful aspect of the human condition: the short span of animals’…

Wine, women and willow: a perfect combo for a perfect English summer day

18 August 2018 9:00 am

The first time I went to Lord’s was in 1970, just before the unofficial Test series which replaced the cancelled…

The pleasures of mindful drinking

4 August 2018 9:00 am

When I was at school, some time before the last ice age, the final day of term was a quasi-holiday.…

Tradition and terroir: the new reign in Spain is producing great results

21 July 2018 9:00 am

The Kingdom of Spain always sends outstanding ambassadors to the Court of St James, none more so than the appropriately…

London’s perfect Paris brasserie

7 July 2018 9:00 am

We order some French things better in London — often, admittedly, with French help. A grenouille friend recently took me…

Weak but stable, Theresa May is the opposite of a good claret

23 June 2018 9:00 am

It is enough to make a man turn to drink. On a distinctly non-abstemious day, I was sitting in one…

Farewell to a bottle and a half per day – I have finally embarked on a diet

9 June 2018 9:00 am

Are there still travelling fairs? In many villages, they used to be part of the annual round. For weeks, the…

It’s not so easy to turn wine into words

26 May 2018 9:00 am

Words, words, words. Over a couple of sessions, we drank a selection of serious wines, starting with a Cantemerle ’05.…

Put your trust in Hungarian wine (yes, really)

28 April 2018 9:00 am

The wines of Tokaji run like a golden thread through Hungarian history. There are references to their nectar-like quality in…

Too much too young: allow some wines to sleep long and peacefully

14 April 2018 9:00 am

This April is the cruellest month, but not in the sense that Eliot intended. Memory and desire are mixed: memory…

When it comes to food and wine, there’s no place like Rhône

31 March 2018 9:00 am

As often, a good glass stimulated good talk. We were drinking some promising young Rhônes and the discussion ranged wide,…

Big two-hearted river: the wines of the Rhône

17 March 2018 9:00 am

The Rhône is a strong river. The Loire derives graciousness from its châteaux. The Rhine and the Thames have been…

Kilchoman isn’t a good whisky; it’s a great one

3 March 2018 9:00 am

‘What seas what shore what grey rocks what water lapping the bow’. So evocative, which seems strange: one would have…

I’m grateful for my grateful drinking friend

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The phone rang. ‘You are the last person in the world I should be talking to’, proclaimed an old friend…

Tasting the true island spirit: single malts from the Isle of Arran

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Arran, in the Firth of Clyde, is an island whose charms vary with the seasons. In summer, the hills are…

Is the great vintage of 2015 retreating into itself

20 January 2018 9:00 am

We were pondering the relationship between military history and wine vintages. It is extraordinary to think that the French managed…

How Christmas lunch became Christmas dinner

6 January 2018 9:00 am

It was a culinary triumph. My hosts do not spend much time in the UK, and are determined to entertain…