Drink

Tinta de Toro: the Spanish red that helped Columbus make waves

20 May 2023 9:00 am

I am assured that this is not a legend. But a few years ago, an Irishman’s life was twice saved…

The joy of real beer

6 May 2023 9:00 am

England. Despite being a Scotsman, partly brought up in Ulster, I have taken so much Englishness for granted over so…

The restorative qualities of a great martini

22 April 2023 9:00 am

It was a perfect setting for a spring day, next to a 15th-century barn. Other walls and buildings had clearly…

In praise of Bellamy’s

8 April 2023 9:00 am

Of all London districts, there is no more charming name than Mayfair. It makes one think of pretty shepherdesses, giggling…

A nose of wet chihuahua: the rich vocabulary of wine

25 March 2023 9:00 am

Some decades ago, there was a Tory MP called John Stokes: eventually, and deservedly, Sir John. He had no interest…

The restorative power of great claret

11 March 2023 9:00 am

‘Come dance with me in Ireland.’ That has always struck me as an enchanting prospect, though a recent Hibernian venture…

A belated Christmas tipple worth waiting for

25 February 2023 9:00 am

Life is returning to normal. Clinics, pills et al are receding into the distance. There was never anything remotely approaching…

The dying days of abstinence

11 February 2023 9:00 am

There is one advantage to a stay in hospital followed by confinement to barracks: time to read and to think.…

The surprising joy of involuntary sobriety

28 January 2023 9:00 am

I have just finished a sojourn with a curious twist. Readers of Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain will remember Hans…

My fall into sobriety

14 January 2023 9:00 am

I am occasionally teased. In a column devoted to drink, which in practice usually means wine and often the products…

South Africa and a toast to democracy

17 December 2022 9:00 am

Not everything in the entire world is going to hell in a half-track. A few days ago, I tasted some…

My Advent vinousness

3 December 2022 9:00 am

Some simpering bishops are urging their clergy to make sure that carol services do not interfere with the ship of…

The overlooked brilliance of Branaire-Ducru 

26 November 2022 9:00 am

At the end of last century, when there were grounds for optimism about Russia’s future, an increasingly popular word expressed…

The wartime roots of Italian Pinot Noir

12 November 2022 9:00 am

Wine-making can have a tragic dimension, and rarely more so than with Italian Pinot Nero: that is, Pinot Noir. It…

The Eton vs Winchester of the wine world

29 October 2022 9:00 am

A few days ago, when everything looked black, a small group of us were consoling ourselves over a couple of…

A wine company after Roger Scruton’s heart

15 October 2022 9:00 am

‘Golden’ is often used to describe the hue of some wines in the glass. But there is another resemblance. Gold…

Why the dry martini is the finest cocktail of all

1 October 2022 9:00 am

We were discussing bourbon and whether American whiskey could ever rival Scotch. I recalled the first time I ever tried…

A toast to absent friends

17 September 2022 9:00 am

There have been few more momentous weeks in British history, or indeed in world history. This commentator must plead guilty.…

A toast to the field marshals

3 September 2022 9:00 am

August may not be the cruellest month but it is often the most dangerous one. Now that it is over,…

At least we still have wine

20 August 2022 9:00 am

Even in recent heat, the English summer can be magical. As long as there is shade, a pool and a…

Should you really pair Pimm’s with oysters?

6 August 2022 9:00 am

Imagine a camel train, crossing the great desert. The remaining water is rancid; the beasts’ humps are shrunken. Death looms.…

Think pink: there’s no shame in quaffing rosé in England

23 July 2022 9:00 am

In the battle of ideas, it is sometimes necessary to make a tactical withdrawal. That is now the case over…

My memorable night at the Carlton Club

9 July 2022 9:00 am

‘Club’ is a four-letter word. Whenever a club is mentioned in the press, it will inevitably be portrayed as a…

A voyage through fine wine off Sardinia

25 June 2022 9:00 am

One could get used to this. I come from seafaring stock, albeit distant. ‘Anderson’ suggests Viking antecedents, especially as my…

A claret to toast the Queen – and forget the Prime Minister

11 June 2022 9:00 am

It was an extraordinary weekend. The various spectacles had something for all tastes: pageantry on Horse Guards; solemnity in St…