Wine Gang News August 2015

August Issue Now Published

We offer our usual heady blend this month peering closely into the shelves of Waitrose, Sainsbury's and The Co-operative to see what's what, then thinking independent with Scotland's Great Grog, the West Country's Yapp Brothers and Italian specialist online, Passione Vino. Finally, a look at both specialist wine chain Wine Rack and the range in corner shop stalwarts, Spar.

All new us!

By this time next month, gremlins of cyber-space permitting, you will be reading our September report as part of our totally new and totally amazing new web site. It's been six months in the making but we really are super-excited about the new look online home for the Wine Gang which has a veritable host of new and improved features for members including "My cellar" and "My shopping list" facilities, and lots more to be revealed.

Gang news

Who said July was for holidays? Jo was busy as a bee, dividing her time between south west France and London. In Cahors and Quercy she dipped in and out of vineyards in temperatures of 40+º. In London, it being July, she geared up for Christmas, with festive wine and food recommendations, recipes and photoshoots for House & Garden magazine where she is Food and Wine Editor.

Ant meanwhile, flitted between exotic Basilicata, Priorat and, er, Beaujolais, then back to the mundane reality of South London. Chained to his desk, he still found time to attend an umami seminar, check out the German discounters Aldi and Lidl, and test various wine gadgets including the game-changing Coravin, which, by sleight of hand-held machine, lets you drink a glass of wine without opening the bottle.

Clos d'AmbonnayTom lived the high life in France and rural Perthshire, first with a week in Chablis where he was more than impressed by the generally high standard of wines at a dozen domaines, before returning for an extraordinary event at Glengeagles hotel, where for the first time ever Champagne Krug lined-up all four vintages ever made of their rare and highly desirable Clos d'Ambonnay. As if sampling a quarter of wines selling at £2k per bottle wasn't enough, the phenomenal food of restaurant Andrew Fairlie provided suitable gastronomic accompaniement.

Jane let the side down big time by actually having a holiday. Though she has trotted the globe womanfully since the start of the year on wine tasting business, she is currently lost in the hills of rural Oregon, where all of California's flower power children ended up when the Golden State sold out to high tech industry. Will we ever see her again is the question?

David has always had a minor obsession with the brisk red wines made from Cabernet Franc in the Loire, so a few days' touring the green and pleasant vineyards of Chinon and Saumur was more play than work. It was certainly a welcome break from the piles of philosophy books he's been reading as part of his research  for a long essay on "Wine, land, identity and politics". If he ever gets down to actually writing it, the article will be published by The Daily Mail The World of Fine Wine later this year. 

Next Issue

Our next monthly report will be published around the 1st of September, but of course our mid-month survival kit of latest wine recommendations will be with members around August 15th. Sign up here to receive all that, and more!