I pick up my story having submitted my application form to the Institute of Masters of Wine. So, was I in yet? Not quite. There are a few more things to do before becoming an official MW student. A respected member of the wine trade has to write a lovely reference about you (thanks Ted). And then, there are the entrance exams.
As we bundled into the car at 8.30am on the morning of Wednesday 15th July, I felt a sense of accomplishment. It had been almost a year since Emily and I had discussed making the trip to Sussex to visit Rathfinny and finally we were on our way, accompanied and chauffeured by one of The Oxford Wine Company’s most faithful customers.
In my previous entry to this series (quite some time ago now!), I described what exactly the MW course entailed, and also let you know that I'd decided to do it. But between deciding to do the course and getting started, there are a few things you need to accomplish.
My partner (my chef) and I met in a basement kitchen in 2015; since that day we have been on a continuous adventure filled with excitement, discovery, affection and of course plenty of food and wine!
In this love letter to our kitchen, I want to talk about one of our favourite dishes to cook and eat together.
Welcome to Drinking Culture, a new series on the OWC blog in which we indulge our literary side. Each month we'll be perusing our bookshelves and picking out one of our favourite publications to share with you.
For our first instalment, we have chosen a book that deserves pride of place in any wine lover's collection. Last October, Hugh Johnson and Jancis Robinson MW released the eighth edition of their seminal World Atlas of Wine, arguably the greatest wine book ever published.
I should have begun writing this six months ago. That was when I finally bit the bullet and submitted my application to the Institute of Masters of Wine (spoiler alert - I got in). In all honesty, though, it took these six months to get over a severe case of imposter syndrome, start taking myself and my studies seriously, and to build up the courage to write - and post - this story.
In early June I visited the wine regions of Germany with a group of fellow Independent Merchants - including representatives from Corks Out in Manchester and Connolly's of Birmingham - as well as Melania Bellesini, Head Sommelier at Heston Blumental's Fat Duck Restaurant. We were the guests of Awin Barratt Siegel Wine Agencies, the UK's leading importer of premium German wines.
As a lover of wine and food I'm all for the classic food and wine pairings for example, mussels and Muscadet, steak and Malbec or fish and chips with Champagne (seriously you've got to try it). However sometimes you just don't want to cook and there's nothing better than a good packet of crisps when you're watching a movie, so why can't you eat crisps and enjoy wine AT THE SAME TIME? Here are my top ten wine and crisp pairings.
If I could only drink one grape variety for the rest of my life It would have to be Riesling. It's the most diverse and complex white grape with vibrant acidity and tantalising fruit.
Those of you who know me will know that I absolutely love finding new and exciting things to try, whether it be food and drink or even a new sporting venture (more to follow, keep your eyes peeled). So, you can imagine my wine-nerdy excitement when I discovered what are now three of my absolute favourite grape varieties: Carménère, Tannat and Bonarda.