Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Land of Bitter

Just returned from a little jaunt back to the old country - England of course!
Drank mostly beer - cask pulled bitters and ales, many of which I had not had the pleasure of trying before. Notable breweries tried were Black Sheep, Wold Top, Theakstons, Burford, Hook Norton, Hambleton, Timothy Taylor, Wadworth and Wychwood (this latter brewery makes a delightful ale called "Hobgoblin").
ps a "wold" is olde English for a little hill ("tertre" in French), and this brewery grows it's own barley in the Yorkshire Wolds.

We visited my favourite pub, the Lion Inn on Blakey Ridge. The only problem with this pub is it's location - on an isolated ridge on the North Yorkshire moors, giving it a spectacular setting but prone to ugly weather. Twice I had to drive home over the ridge in pea-soup fog and horizontal rain, visibility down 10 feet and sheep all over the road.

I did manage to sneak some wine in here and there, mostly non-descript stuff. There were a few that stood out for one reason or another. The best packaged wine was the Pure, Shiraz, Vin de Pays d'Oc, NV. Unbelievably simple label, the product inside the bottle actually wasn't that bad - no nose to speak of, pure blackberry fruit on the palate but without any real "body" and not jammy at all. The surprise was a medium-long finish. An OK everyday wine, a little overpriced at 6 pounds a bottle.

The worst wine was some atrocity called Flinders Realm, The Reliance, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 from Australia. This was pure unadulterated plonk - do not buy this crap.

The best wine was this rather ugly packaged Kingston, Cabernet-Petit Verdot, 2005, also from Australia. A good wine and a bargain to boot at 4 pounds.



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