Monthly Archives: September 2013

Graham’s 1948 Vintage Port | Would that it were mine…

As a post this is almost a week behind the time. The excuse is that firstly I’ve just found the reference (in an old copy of Decanter) and secondly, it’s just too good a coincidence.

Graham’s 1948 Vintage Port shares my name and my birth year – and now I find that on my birthday John D Symington whose family still own this legendary port house, reporting on the harvest prospects for 1948, wrote “Grapes looking healthy and nice and very sweet.”

Graham's 1948 label

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Bubbles over the Loire | Mon Ange, Fillibulle and La Tour Grise

We ate with good friends the other night at ‘La Part des Anges’ in Chinon. Given the name of the restaurant there was only one choice to start the evening: Domaine de la Noblaie’s sparkling rose, Mon Ange. And  very good choice it was. Apricot rather than pink in colour, very fresh on the nose with peach and white fruit aromas. The mousse was gentle rather than aggressive but there was a real liveliness in the mouth and lots of red fruit in the flavour – hardly surprising since this is a 100% Cabernet Franc wine.


We paid 22€; the cellar door price is around 10€ – and at that price it’s excellent value. There’s no UK stockist that I can trace.

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Who buried my cheese? | Samuel Pepys and the Great Fire of London, 1666

In early September 1666 the Great Fire of London swept through the medieval City, destroying more than 13,000 houses as well as 87 churches and St Paul’s Cathedral. It had started shortly after midnight on 2 September in Thomas Faryner’s Pudding Lane bakery. Samuel Pepys’s house in Seething Lane, just half a mile to the east, was in the line of the fire which was driven westward by strong winds and Pepys was worried. What concerned him was not so much for his personal safety as for his gold, his wine – and his cheese.

Faryner plaque

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Ratafia and Cuvée de l’Ecusson | a German-Luxembourg aperitif that hits the spot

Kay brought back for me  from Berlin a bottle of ratafia. What’s that you may say? Well, ratafia is a generic name for grape brandy mixed with grape (or apple) juice and flavoured with spices, fruits or herbs. There are versions in Burgundy, Armagnac, Spain, Italy and elsewhere. Not excepting Germany. This particular ratafia is infused with flowers (dahlias in fact) grown in the garden of Expressionist painter Emil Nolde’s garden and transformed into an aromatic liqueur by Martina Kabitzsc of Manufaktur von Blythen in Berlin.


Possibly the right colour…


Emil Nolde Stiftung, Berlin

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