Who is Tom Cannavan?
my perfect day would begin with
A stroll to my favourite Italian café, to drink good coffee whilst Italian radio burbles in the background, and I perch on a stool at the window watching the world go by.
the most beautiful wine region I've visited is
Very tough. Contenders have to include the South African Cape, the Douro in Portugal, around Central Otago in New Zealand and the villages of Alsace. But then there's the Okanagen in Canada, the rolling hills of Napa, and the stark beauty of the Andes at Mendoza in Argentina. A recent visit to Lebanon has had a profound impact on me for all sorts of reasons.
if I wasn't a wine writer I'd be a
A university teacher probably, as that's the career I gave up to write about wine. In a more romantic life, maybe a professional musician or recording engineer. I do a weekly TV show in Scotland that is really good fun, but I don't know if I'd like it as a full-time career.
the last bottle of wine I drank (not just tasted) was
Work Horse Chenin Blanc from South Africa - when Stellenbosch does Chenin like this: rich, smoky, honey-toned and verging on the off-dry but with thrilling acidity - it is so good and modestly priced.
my favourite restaurant(s) is/are
So tough. In Scotland, Braidwoods in Dalry, Martin Wishart in Edinburgh and The Peat Inn, Fife. In London, Le Gavroche, The Square, Texture, Marcus Waering, Tate Modern cafe, 28-50. Worldwide? French Laundry in Napa, Per Se in New York, El Celler de Can Rocca in Girona, Tetsuya's in Sydney, Reubens in Franschhoek, Moulin du Roc in Périgord, Simply Foch in Majorca, La Bourgogne in Buenos Aires. I'm hungry.
my cellar is mostly composed of
Lots of Bordeaux, Burgundy, Rhône and Champagne. All pretty classic in terms of my long-term cellar, though there are all sorts of bits and pieces: some serious Argentine Malbecs, lots of sweet wines from around the world, some top-end Australian, German, Italian and Spanish stuff.
if you were coming for dinner I'd cook
In winter, something slow-cooked and easy so we can enjoy each other's company. Maybe a venison casserole or daube of beef. In summer, probably fish. Maybe some halibut or seabass with a mustard and lemon zest crust.
and to drink with it I would serve
Something I'd match pretty carefully. Hopefully we'd be in for a treat as I do like to treat wine loving friends to the best stuff from my cellar; why buy it otherwise?
and other dinner party guests would be
In a surreal (and somewhat scary) fantasy world, Björk, Antony Hegarty, Stephen Fry and James Gandolfini. In the real world, a regular list of friends and family.
my biggest blind-tasting faux pas was
Ooooh, let me think. I called a Californian Chardonnay as "a good wine, spoiled by too much oak" at a tasting once, then spun the bottle round to see it was unoaked (but had far too much malo and lees stirring!)
the blind-tasting moment I would prefer to concentrate on was
It's always a great feeling when you home in on a specific wine and vintage, which happens very rarely. Recently I correctly called Sean Thackrey's 1994 Orion in a blind tasting, a wine I've tasted many times over the years and which, in truth, is very distinctive. I also got the vintage right first time on two vintage Ports at a winemaker dinner in Oporto - absolute sheer b****y luck, but it's a game they love to play on visiting wine journalists and my performance impressed them no end - I'll just make sure to never accept the challenge again!
one thing that might surprise you about me is
I was once in a band, a long, long (long) time ago, that reached number four in the NME Indie charts.
if I was a winemaker I'd make my wines in
I'd love to rave on about terroir, which of course is at the heart of truly great wine, but in reality my priority would be somewhere with great weather, where English is spoken, where it's safe and beautiful and capable of making very fine wine. That leaves lots of choice, so I'd maybe try my hand at making a great Pinot Noir in Oregon, around Victoria in Australia or in New Zealand.
other than wine, I have a secret passion for
Well there's more than one, from cars and wristwatches, to cooking and quality craft beers. I've recently been thinking of buying an astronomical telescope, but Jo Simon tells me its a sign of galloping mid-life crisis. Right now I'll plump for a (big) box of Charbonnel and Walker Marc de Champagne truffles if anyone's buying.
my favourite holiday destination is
I love the west coast of the USA for the contrasts and dramatic scenery, and driving and eating my way though France is still one of the great pleasures in life. We visited Majorca for the first time recently and despite rubbish weather, the scenery and food and wine scene was brilliant. However a three week touring holiday of Argentina spanning the icebergs of Patagonia to the high Andean deserts close to the Bolivian border is possibly the single best holiday of my life so far.
I think restaurant mark-ups on wine are
Best when applied as a fixed cash margin. Just a few places understand that if they stick a £12 mark-up on a bottle of house plonk, but also stick £12 on a bottle of Grand Cru Burgundy, they'll sell more good wine, make as much money on every bottle, and an awful lot of people will drink better and have a better overall experience.
the best movie or TV show of all time is
TV has had flashes of brilliance in recent years, almost entirely due to American drama series. I'll split my nomination between The Sopranos and The West Wing.
in Summer in the garden I'd drink
Really well-chilled Riesling, or a crisp Vinho Verde or white from Campania depending on my mood. Maybe the occasional Framboise Belgian beer, or of course glass of Champagne.
my favourite piece of music would have to be
Another impossible question. Right now I am loving David Bowie's 2002 album 'Heathen', but who could live without God Save the Queen by the Pistols, Jumping Someone Else's Train by The Cure, Rebel Rebel by Bowie, You are my Sister by Antony and the Johnsons, Manhattan by Ella Fitzgerald, Song from Under the Floorboards by Magazine? If forced to pick one right now: Cantus in Memory of Benjamin Britten by Arvo Pärt. Almost unbearably beautiful: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YtC_WLBPTJI
my best bottle of wine ever was probably
The 1989 Haut-Brion, drunk on the terrace of a restaurant outside Marseilles on a beautiful mid-summer evening. But it could all change with my next bottle...