The King’s Speech

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We started the week with the King’s Speech, which Rishi Sunak described as “taking long-term decisions for a brighter future.” I don’t know if you saw it, but the enthusiasm with which the King detailed the measures rather suggested to this watcher that His Majesty remains on the fence in that regard.

There is not much new in it, a lot of words and a few North Sea oil and gas licences that’ll make no difference to the economy at all. Though quite how they’ll be “helping the country to transition to net zero by 2050 I’m not sure. Perhaps that’s why the King sounded rather bored, that and the fact that a third of the proposals are left over from the last parliament maybe. Still, on the plus side, there was nothing about a ban on tents, and there is talk of a Football Regulator, let’s just hope that they don’t involve the folks who run VAR! Probably the cigarette ban isn’t a bad idea either.

We’ve also been tuning in to the Covid enquiry, it’s been heavy going at points but we’ve stuck with it. We felt slightly obliged, given how much time we spent mocking some of the actions or decisions that were taken at points and having listened for a number of days we would say that it was even more mad and chaotic than any of us imagined. You can imagine our shock at the news that “Covid rules were broken virtually every day in No.10”.

On the culture front, Mad Nads’ book is now out. We haven’t read it, but understand from informed folk that it contains all the thrills and spills you’d expect from a fiction writer at the heart of government. A Tory cabal called the ‘Movement’ that really runs everything, a butchered rabbit and claims that Rishi Sunak is a ‘Manchurian candidate’ installed by Dominic Cummings. We’re not sure who has the white cat sat on their lap, but think it might need the cynical setting on your Kindle.

WeWork filed for bankruptcy protection this week as it turned out that it didn’t actually work. Valued at $47 billion dollars in January 2019, the company was worth just $50 million when it filed for protection this week. All those chasing any company involved in AI might just want to do a ‘Fairy Dust’ check before investing the entire pension fund eh?

On the wine front, the figures are in and it turns out that 2023 is the smallest grape harvest since 1961. It looks likely that we’ll experience an overall fall of around 7% and as it’s been Italy and Spain taking the climate hit, France has moved back up to top volume producer for this year. It looks like a good vintage in both quality and volume aspects for the English wine producers and in California, the wet winter and cool summer has done wonders for the producers of Napa and Sonoma.

The OECD released a study into binge drinking this week. The reported headlines were quite a thing:

Daily Express: “Global study names world’s booziest countries – and Britain is NOT number one.”

Daily Star: “World’s biggest boozers revealed – and UK only comes third.”

Daily Mail: “Why ARE British women the world’s biggest binge drinkers?”

You can draw your own conclusions from that, but we would also mention a joint study from researchers at Universities of Washington and California. They found that a glass of wine can help you sleep but only if you’ve already had a coffee. Now I don’t know about you, but I have always had a cup of coffee before I’ve had a glass of wine. Coffee with breakfast, wine later on, even on Christmas Day!

Tasting this Weekend

We thought we’d head to Italy this week, there’s a bit of a treat on the white front, Poggio Al Tesoro Solosole Vermentino 2022, Toscana (£27.99) this delicious white from Bolgheri is crisp and elegant with yellow plum fruit. But don’t take my word for it, come and taste for yourself. It’ll be a top treat with that fish you pick up at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday morning.

In the red corner, we’ll be bringing out one of our new purchases. Urban Park Appassimento 2019, Veneto (£14.99) is from our chums at Montresor and is made from grapes dried for around 30 days before being made into wine. A mini Amarone, if you will. We’re quite excited about it, so come and tell us what you think. We’ve got a mushroom stroganoff against this one, how about you?

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