Olé! Olé! Señor Oz is a Caballero

27 March, 2009

Congratulations to Oz Clarke, who has joined the hallowed ranks of the Gran Orden del Caballeros. He was honoured, along with winemaker Telmo Rodriguez, at the 25th Caballeros dinner, held this year at the Dorchester Hotel in London, in recognition of his services to Spanish wine.

Could this mean that the hillsides of Rioja and Ribera del Duero might be the setting of the next Oz and James adventure?

Real elephant trumpets the cause

Sightings of an albino baby elephant in Botswana have given Bill Rolfe's 10 International business some unexpected publicity.

Photographs of the unusual infant reveal a curious pink skin colouration. And, of course,

Rolfe's best-known brand is Pink Elephant.

"I bet you don't know any other company that goes to such lengths to raise the profile of their brand," he says. It's certainly up there with Pepsi painting Concorde blue.

Brewing up a panto theme

Last issue we reported that the wine trade is performing its own pantomime, Vinderella, next year. Maybe other sectors of the drinks industry should do something similar.

Goldilocks and the Three Beers? Mother Grey Goose? Frosty Jack and the Beanstalk? Come on, people, these scripts virtually write themselves.

The class of teen wine tasters

The Daily Mail has been predictably outraged by a public school's decision to allow some of its pupils the chance to learn about wine tasting. Abberley Hall school in Worcestershire invited local merchant Andrew Darwin to conduct a one-hour talk about wine, which involved a gentle introduction to tasting.

Alcohol Concern joined the chorus of condemnation, despite the school's claim that "they are very lucky children and this talk was to broaden their horizons and cultural understandings".

Parents reported "emotional" phone calls from their children that night, and automatically assumed it was because they were drunk. Nothing at all to do with being forced to live away from their families at the age of 12, then.

Not Drunk Enough opens doors

Sometimes, we'll admit, the drinks trade can be its own worst enemy. Calling your off-licence Not Drunk Enough - as someone in Liverpool has done - is a bit of a gift to anti-alcohol campaigners. Apparently the name has been seized upon by liver specialist Prof Ian Gilmour, whose latest campaign is for entire cities to be made alcohol-free. What next? We're on the first flight out of here.

Recessionary tipple

There's nothing like a bit of blunt honesty. Mont Tauch has captured the economic mood with the launch of Vin de Récession Corbières 2007, retailing at £4.99 for a 50cl bottle.

We're told that the blend of

Carignan and Grenache is "ideal for red meats, casseroles and cheese". Shame many of us can only afford Pot Noodles now.

Cobs and robbers

Another story from the files of "unusual things shopkeepers can use to ward off robbers".

Leigh licensee June Wilcock, who has run the Off Licence in St Helens Road for 20 years, whacked an armed robber over the head with a baker's tray full of barm cakes as he helped himself to cash.

Sadly the robber and his accomplice - who were carrying a knife and a claw hammer - managed to escape despite June's bravery and resourcefulness.

Such incidents are not the stuff of comedy, but we enjoyed the Leigh Reporter's headline: Cobs and Robbers

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Talking terroir

When Bordeaux was in fashion, it seemed almost logical that we should fetishise winemakers. Here were people responsible for brilliant acts of blending, across large estates and multiple grape varieties, including superstars such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot. These days, fashion has moved on and pinot noir is ascendant. As a result, the star of the winemaker has fallen and we find ourselves following a new star in the sky: terroir.

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