Drink

The delights of Spanish wine – and art

9 November 2019 9:00 am

First, an apology. In my last column, I appeared to be saying that good champagne does not age. This must…

There is always time for a bottle of Champagne

28 September 2019 9:00 am

My friend Dominic decided that it was time to convoke a lunch. There were matters to discuss, including that perennial…

Reasons to be cheerful: gardens, Ben Stokes and cold wine

31 August 2019 9:00 am

‘The Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day.’ Is there a more charming passage in…

A toast to the wisdom – and wit – of Norman Stone

6 July 2019 9:00 am

We were in a club, discussing Norman Stone, recently departed, over a meal that he would have enjoyed. Norman divided…

25 years off the booze has taught me three simple things

11 May 2019 9:00 am

Have you noticed how nearly everyone in the media has won an award? Is there even such a thing as…

Save us from fads and change for change’s sake

11 May 2019 9:00 am

There is no new thing under the sun. Over the weekend, I read a book which was alarmingly relevant to…

Is wine an art?

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Acouple of lawyers were disagreeing about a matter which could become increasingly relevant. Could a sitting president pardon himself? But…

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.…

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.’…

Rob Auton (Chris) in Frank Skinner’s Nina’s Got News

Is Frank Skinner the new Alan Bennett? Edinburgh Fringe round-up

25 August 2018 9:00 am

For recovering teetotallers, like me, Thinking Drinkers is the perfect Edinburgh show. On stage, two sprucely dressed actors perform sketches…

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…

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…

Found in a friend’s cellar — the wines of a lifetime

16 December 2017 9:00 am

In longevity, great wine can march with human life. Creating (better still, maintaining) a fine cellar really is a compact…

Low spirits

7 October 2017 9:00 am

You may have noticed that we’re in the throes of a 21st-century Gin Craze. It’s not as serious as the…

Low life

15 July 2017 9:00 am

The hen party was seated at an outside restaurant table under the plane trees when I arrived. They sat with…

One night in the backwoods

4 June 2016 9:00 am

When I was 38, I let a drunk pick me up in a bar. You know, just to see if…

Confess your guilty displeasures

14 May 2016 9:00 am

Strawberries. Ella Fitzgerald. Lying on the beach. They’re three of my ‘guilty displeasures’. You haven’t heard of the guilty displeasure?…

The wonders of white Burgundy

7 May 2016 9:00 am

I promised a return to Burgundy and the 2014 vintage, which becomes no less impressive when recollected in tranquillity. We…

Was there a cover-up over Shakespeare’s death?

23 April 2016 9:00 am

How did the Bard kick the bucket? The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death reignites interest in a great literary mystery.…

Dinner with a Grand National winner

23 April 2016 9:00 am

Not quite nil humanum a me alienum, but I have always been interested in other people’s trades and worlds. That…

The 5 per cent of people who decide everything (and how to be one of them)

27 February 2016 9:00 am

What happens when 95 per cent of people like something, but 5 per cent of people prefer something else? You might think…

The perfect wines to toast the end of the hunting season

13 February 2016 9:00 am

A few years ago, a distinguished cove in the diplomatic service was made High Commissioner to Australia. To prepare himself…

Back in Time for the Weekend gives the 1950s its usual kicking

6 February 2016 9:00 am

When the time comes to make programmes looking back on the 2010s, I wonder which aspects of life today will…

For a true moral lesson, Rugby School, get your pupils drunk

9 January 2016 9:00 am

Rugby and Ampleforth schools have decided to give their charges experience of sensible drinking by introducing a little alcohol, under…