Winning Ways In Wine and Cycling

Fellow Wine Lovers,

This being a bit of an old school, once-a-week-only-on-a-Friday publication (and I use that word loosely), we tend to finalise copy on a Thursday evening before we send it off to the subs, who then attempt turn our drivel into some form of vaguely palatable writing before they then send it off to the presses for the West End Final.

Well, actually of course most of this doesn’t happen except for the bit about it being written late on a Thursday, which means that anything exciting that happens on a Friday often gets missed.  Then, by the time we get to the following Thursday other things will have happened and we can’t really talk about the events of last week.

Which is a shame, because I think we could have really gone to town examining the Matt Hancock affair.  I mean, the downfall of a man so well loved and respected by the nation should not go by without comment, surely.  Of course, he wasn’t sacked for being caught in flagrante delicto because his boss very quickly considered the matter closed – which he would of course, given that his own reaction to accusations of wandering hands in 2004 was to brush off these reports as “an inverted pyramid of piffle”.

Michael Howard had clearly had enough of Boris at the time.  Having asked him to resign and been ignored, he ended up firing him from his responsibilities as shadow minister for the arts and vice-chairman of the Conservative Party by telephone after being informed about the newspaper reports relating to Petronella Wyatt.

And that, as The Guardian stated at the time, ‘brings an end to an unlikely but uniquely engaging political career. Johnson, 40, who is also editor of the Spectator magazine, became one of the few modern Tories able to capture the public imagination, even provoking speculation he could be a future leader.’  Gaby Hinsliff, Sunday 14 November 2004.

So, as I’m sure has been noted already, we look forward to Matt Hancock re-igniting his career and becoming a future Prime Minister – we just can’t wait, such exciting times!

Away from Whitehall’s goofballs, the very serious world of wine gave some awards out on Wednesday evening.  The International Wine Challenge 2021 made their announcements yesterday and wineries around the world now await their Gold, Silver or Bronze stickers to attach to their wines before they go on sale.  There are also trade awards, which will mean very little to most of you, though it was nice to see that Bancroft Wines, who we buy Joseph Perrier Champagne and Amon-Ra amongst others, win Medium Agent of the Year – chapeau!

Elsewhere, the Wine Society won Wine Club of the Year for perhaps the gazillionth time which frankly shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  A well-run company that’s been going since the 1870’s and that ploughs all its members dividends back into its working capital should be able to see off any rivals – and it does!

However, for us the most exciting thing was to see that the mighty Hans Tschida, maker of our thoroughly underrated but hugely delicious Samling 88Trockenbeerenauslese 2007 – £43.00, win Sweet Winemaker of the Year.  We say his wines are underrated purely because sweet wines from Austria are not necessarily the top of everyone’s shopping list – France usually gets peoples vote.  However, his wines should not be ignored and whilst being crowned best Sweet Winemaker is a great accolade, he will need to find room in his trophy cabinet having previously won this award in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015 and 2019!  It may not be the cheapest wine in the shop but it’s possibly one of the best!

Finally, Wayne tells me that he is going to have to get his Mark Cavendish tattoo re-inked as the Manx Missile yesterday won his second stage of this year’s Tour de France, now making his overall total 32 stage wins.  I advised him to wait a moment, there could be more to come.  In other news, Eddy Merckx has announced his intention to ride in the TdF next year, keen to protect his record…

That’s it from us for now – hopefully we have some sunshine this weekend, we certainly have plenty of chilled Rosé.  We also have some British Lions Rugby, we have the tennis and then at 8pm on Saturday, the biggest moment of my week since Tuesday – dinner out with my family – can someone text me the score please!

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