Drink

The true France in a bottle

4 July 2015 9:00 am

‘There lies the dearest freshness deep down things’ — and also the dearest Frenchness. It is easy to be rude…

Lunch with a claret fit for gods, heroes and David Cameron

20 June 2015 9:00 am

I cannot remember a jollier lunch. There are two brothers, Sebastian and Nicholas Payne, both practical epicureans. They have made…

The secret heart of London conservatism…

6 June 2015 9:00 am

There is a dive near St James’s which could claim to be the epicentre of international reaction. It is also…

Could any cook help me overcome my terror of tapioca?

9 May 2015 9:00 am

There are those who claim that this column is idiosyncratic. They have seen nothing yet. I am about to mention…

The greatest wine I’ve ever drunk

25 April 2015 9:00 am

The supermarket chains are not always blameworthy. Their missionary efforts have helped to ensure that wine drinking in Britain is…

The triumph of Guatemalan rum (and a disaster for a Guatemalan ambassador)

11 April 2015 9:00 am

For many years, the Central American republic of Guatemala had a grievance against the United Kingdom. It claimed sovereignty over…

Wines to toast a warrior saint

28 March 2015 9:00 am

Towards the chimes at midnight, a few of us left a — respectable — establishment near Leicester Square. Eight or…

A dog to remember (and the wine he inspired)

14 March 2015 9:00 am

Meeting to taste wine, we started by talking about dogs. Roy Hattersley is good on the subject, which ought to…

France, England and the tragedy of DSK

28 February 2015 9:00 am

When we consider poets who perished before their day, thoughts turn to the Romantics or the war victims: Burns, Keats,…

The spirit of Prohibition lives (if you’re a haggis)

31 January 2015 9:00 am

It is an old adage, but still pertinent. ‘Every generalisation about India is true, and so is the opposite.’ The…

The battling brilliance of Burgundy

17 January 2015 9:00 am

There is only one answer to the question ‘Burgundy or claret?’ ‘Yes, but never in the same glass.’ Yet I…

When did we become a nation of police informers?

10 January 2015 9:00 am

There’s a danger that in what follows your columnist may seem to be recommending an attitude. Please don’t think that.…

Cognac and the Viking connection in la France profonde

13 December 2014 9:00 am

The chestnut trees were still resplendent in yellow leaf along the banks of a misty autumn river on its glide…

‘The plan was to pour the apple juice into an oak hogshead, freshly emptied of its whisky’

The birth of a barrel of cider

6 December 2014 9:00 am

The fabulous October weather is now just a memory but it made for a golden, old-fashioned apple day down in…

The recruitment company to go to if you've got no arms or legs

6 December 2014 9:00 am

When to launch? For impresarios, this is the eternal dilemma. Autumn is so crowded with press nights that producers are…

The great lunchtime wine showdown

6 December 2014 9:00 am

This is a tale of two lunches, sort of. The first was a classically English affair. We started with native…

The real French embassy is a restaurant

22 November 2014 9:00 am

Semper eadem. There is some basement in a Mayfair street that is forever France. It is not far from the…

James Delingpole falls in love with Grayson Perry - and almost comes round to Chris Huhne

1 November 2014 9:00 am

I love Grayson Perry. You might almost call him the anti-Russell Brand: a genuinely talented artist who also has some…

Proof that the Japanese know how to make great Bordeaux

11 October 2014 9:00 am

Château Lagrange, a St Julien third growth, has the largest acreage of any Bordeaux classed growth. For much of the…

The Society of Odd Bottles and the Sisterhood of the Black Pudding

13 September 2014 9:00 am

The Honourable Society of Odd Bottles has been mentioned in this column before. I can report that the membership is…

Horse racing, Sancerre and escaped lobsters

30 August 2014 9:00 am

A stint in dry dock — the ‘dry’ literally — has one advantage. There is time for lots of long…

A bitter struggle with the dictionary

30 August 2014 9:00 am

‘Don’t mind if I do,’ is one of husband’s stock phrases — jokes he would think them — in this…

Visiting Burgundy from my hospital bed

16 August 2014 9:00 am

There have been some splendid rumours about my health. According to the most exotic, I was cas-evacked from a hill…

Some consumer advice: do not sell your daughter for a bottle of 90-year-old port

24 May 2014 9:00 am

Port, or Hermitage? This does not refer to personal consumption. I was trying to remember Meredith’s Egoist, in which one…

A military funeral for a heroic vintage

10 May 2014 9:00 am

Alas, the ’63 ports are beginning to fade. I came to that conclusion the last time I tasted a Warre’s,…