The very fetching yellow beret she sports in the video was her only payment….

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Alex has been out and about this week, putting his sniff, swirl and spit skills to good use in the judging of the early rounds of the International Wine Challenge. His teeth have now returned to their original colour, he has caught up with a fair few old chums and also discovered some of the latest buzzwords in the land of winemakers and consultants. Because such things are as strict as Official Secrets Act we can’t say much more than that but there was talk of a game changing tooth product that should help those of us that continually subject their enamel to a short intensive acid bath. We’ll trial it and let you know.

An enormously heart-warming piece of news we saw was that, at the age of 85, Madhur Jaffrey has still got it. She’s recruiting a new generation of fans as a guest star as a Grandma MC in NY hip hop artist Mr. Cardamom’s new track “Nani”. The very fetching yellow beret she sports in the video was her only payment.

News reaches us that Ukraine may be in line to get a comedian as President. Leading the race in first round of Presidential elections is popular TV comedian Volodymyr Zelensky. I see no problem with it at all; we have 649 jokers in our parliament, whilst the US has a TV star in the top role who definitely knows his oranges, what could possibly go wrong.

Meanwhile, at the European Parliament, MEP’s have made some revisions to the food-labelling regulations by this week approving a ban on the producers of vegetarian food from using nomenclature usually deployed to describe meat. French socialist MEP Éric Andrieu, overseeing the debate, said: “We felt that steak should be kept for real steak with meat and come up with a new moniker for all these new products.”

So, goodbye to the veggie burger, welcome to the veggie disc. We wondered what happens to fish cutlets or chicken fillet, is only beef allowed to have fillet? What about beef tomatoes and lambs lettuce? Where does that leave crab apples?

We’re not entirely sure all MEP’s understood the debate, with Molly Scott Cato, MEP for South West of England and Gibraltar (?), stating “I think this could unlock a lot of creativity. My personal favourite is nomato soup, which is a tomato-tasting soup made of peppers.”

This Saturday sees the annual visit of the Grand National at 17.15. It seems to us to be getting later and later, time was you could pop out for a pint and lunch, put a bet on, go home watch the race with Gran, then pop back to the bookies to pick up Gran’s winnings for her before they shut. These they days they’re on the point of introducing floodlights! Anyway, we’ve had a look at the runners if you’re interested? Wayne has had a flutter on Vintage Clouds as that’s where he keeps his head most of the time.

Alex meanwhile has been much more studious on the form and chosen Jury Duty and Valseur Lido, though possibly the latter just because he has the hots for Rachael Blackmore after she won him some money at 50-1 at Cheltenham!

You may recall a few weeks ago we mentioned in passing that Constellation was looking to offload some of its lower valued brands to concentrate on the more premium end of its portfolio. E J Gallo has spent $1.7 billion on a chunk of them (including Paul Masson!). You heard it here first.

Tasting This Weekend

Continuing or record of tasting recent listings the white this week will be Tenute Pieralisi Villaia Verdicchio Classico 2017 (£19.99).  This is the flagship wine from this producer.  The grapes are sourced from their most prized vineyard of Colle del Sole – situated right next to the winery. It has an open and expressive nose with aromas of apricot, orchard fruit, white flower and citrus. The palate has minerality and texture with ripe tropical notes of pineapple and stone fruit, underpinned by racy acidity and a touch of salinity.  Oh, and guess what, it’s vegan too, so it is a natural bedfellow for the veggie burger, whilst it still exists!

The red wine is less controversial, or perhaps more – they use egg whites in the fining process, the scoundrels. However don’t let that put you off the majesty of Bodegas Roda Sela 2015 (£22.49). 2015 was an almost perfect Mediterranean vintage here in Rioja and the blend has a bit more Garnacha than the previous vintage which gives us a lovely and juicy drop with fine tannins and an almost balsamic note from the French oak ageing.  It’s a serious wine for serious wine lovers or is it a fun drop for the jokers amongst us?  Probably both – come and decide for yourself!

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