Wine News 27 May to 3 June

Welcome back! There was lots to talk about this week in wine. Here’s the latest:

Last week we tasted English wines in celebration of English Wine Week. We have been advised that it is now London Wine Week, International Sherry Week, and Negroni Week. We’re not entirely sure we should celebrate all of them in the same week, so we’ll point you towards the information and you can weigh your options. Please celebrate your chosen week(s) responsibly.

And on the subject of sherry, I found some fabulous information at www.sherry.org. There are presentations and even an online course as part of the Sherry Academy, an online community — it’s enough to make a person not very interested in sherry slightly interested. But why aren’t we more interested? Tim Atkin offered his analysis of the state of sherry worldwide, and how it’s becoming downright hip in other countries. One American expert he speaks to very sagely noted that there is no image problem with sherry stateside: “Our grandmothers don’t drink sherry.”  How long will it be before the UK catches up?

Colombia’s Nairo Quintana won the Giro d’Italia! Ok, it’s not strictly wine news, but we celebrated with a bottle of 2012 Famille Bougrier Rosé D’Anjou, which we loved.

This is not strictly wine news either, but this list of Paris restaurants you can book online looks terribly handy.

And finally, Henry Jeffrey’s has written an oustanding article called “Should Cats Sell Wine?” where he discusses the popularity of cats on the Internet, the barrier wine labels pose to the uninitiated, and what are known as “critter wines” in the U.S. I remember when I was a graduate student in the U.S. and knew almost nothing about wine (or a little, but only about German wines I couldn’t afford), I always took a bottle of Torres Sangre de Toro to parties. It came with a little plastic bull attached to the bottle, and I actually have the last bull in my collection sitting in the aloe vera plant in our English kitchen.

Sangre de Toro

It was good wine, and finding that little plastic bull amid a sea of identical bottles in the shop was like running into an old friend. When I handed over a bottle of Sangre de Toro at a party, the hosts would recognize it and be glad to see it. It was the perfect choice for my circle of friends, my financial situation, my personal taste and my level of wine knowledge at that time. While critics see critter wines as a dumbing down and a gimmicky way of selling terrible wine to the gullible, that isn’t necessarily the case (see, for example, the “Top 5 Critter Wines” on Epicurious, or “Critter Wines: Do They All Suck” on Serious Eats). Surely there’s room for all manner of styles of wine, wine labels and wine drinkers. Why so much indignation over bottle with an animal on it? (End of Janet’s critter wine rant.)

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