Learning about wine

I am a fairly recent convert to the world of wine. Actually, this isn’t strictly true – I’ve always loved drinking it, and have a reputation among my friends for tearing open the 2 litre box of wine to inflate the weird silvery bag inside them and ensure the last few drops of Sainsbury’s Generic White Wine make it into our glasses. (Yes, I am all class, I know.)

It’s fair to say I haven’t always really thought about what I was drinking, though, and I often found myself going for safe options like Jacob’s Creek in the supermarket, and Pinot Grigio in the pub. At uni, we’d work out what we charmingly described as the “voms per pound” index – what could you spend the least money on while still getting pissed? Wine tended to do pretty well by the VPP calculations, and came with the added bonus of not making us looking like tramps, which was the main problem with it’s rival, cider.

It wasn’t much of a eureka moment, but as I started working and had a bit more to spend, I started to hanker for wine that came in a bottle, not a weird inflatable foil pouch hidden in a box. As I moved from the £3 to the £7 bottles, my expectations rose. I wanted wine that tasted nicer, that wasn’t vinegary or watery, or nice on the way down, but with an aftertaste of gym socks. The £7 bottles sometimes delivered this, but it was touch and go.

So I came in after a night at the pub drinking red wine which reminded me, worryingly, of an Impulse body spray I’d last worn in 1996, and booked myself onto an “introduction to wine” course online. Sober, I might have shopped around for classes that didn’t cost £300, but I was still pleased (and to be honest, a little surprised) when I saw the email confirming the booking in my inbox the next morning.

Sometimes even bad wine helps us make good decisions.

Thanks for reading -


Hello world!

I was having dinner with my brother, a massive wine geek and posh “en primeur” wine buyer (don’t worry, I’ll come back and explain what on earth this means later) and my husband in the gorgeous Atelier de Joel Robuchon restaurant in Soho this weekend. Dinner was delicious, and the conversation turned to my growing love for wine. I was two glasses in, so the ranting began. Why, I lamented, is everyone who writes about wine so… well, pretentious?

Obviously, there are some great exceptions, but the truth is for new drinkers, it can be hard to find the info you want about wine. Does red really give you a worse hangover? Why are people so rude about white wine spritzers? Never mind which wines go best with fish, what’s the best wine to drink at the pub if the girls and I are planning to make a night of it? Why does some wine that costs a fiver taste fine, but some taste like juice from a leaky bin bag? What the hell does a wine with “oaky, leathery notes on the nose” mean? And how do you prevent the Twilight vamp mouth after a couple of glasses of red wine?

Wine fulfills a job for many of us – it helps us relax at the end of a hard day at work, and gives us a low-calorie, less burpy alternative to lager or G&Ts when we’re out. But just because we’re drinking for fun and relaxation rather than swirling it round our mouths and making up ever more ridiculous descriptions of how it tastes and smells, doesn’t mean we have to settle for the cheapest or the ones we know best. When I ended my rant, my brother gave me some advice – and Londonwinegirl was born.

Thanks for reading –