What do we know?

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Santiago
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What do we know?

Post by Santiago » Sat 11 Dec 2010 14:52

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink ... sq-content

Rather unfair and silly conclusion from the Telegraph but some of the comments are pretty dumb. Sometimes I think anti-snobbery about wine goes hand in hand with a hatred of all things French.
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Post by john » Sat 11 Dec 2010 15:13

Far be it from me to back up the Torygraph,Jon, but,in fairness,they do seem to be mainly just reporting the results of this "survey" from Morrisons,which may,or may not be accurate/relevant.

There is absolutely no doubt that price is a major factor in wine choice for those who buy from Supermarkets in the UK. You can have your views as to whether thats a good or bad thing,but (and of course that probably fits in with Morrison's marketing strategy !), low price deals shift bottles.

I'm astounded that they think that it's such a shocking surprise that UK people do not mix food with wine. It's just not part of the Brit tradition to do that,particularly as the majority of wine supped in the UK is done so without any food of any description! It's a concept that the French just cannot get their heads round. It's not a question of "right or wrong". Just a different culture.

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Post by Santiago » Sat 11 Dec 2010 15:35

Fair point John. It's very true that many British wine drinkers, certainly the newer ones, don't think of wine as a with-food drink whereas the French rarely drink wine without something to nibble.b That is definitely an Anglo Saxon divide in drinking culture and explains the popularity of New World style.

I'm not sure how much education people need to help them choose wine that they will like. In fact, my experience tells me that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing when it comes to wine. It tends to lead to prejudiced opinions rather than an enlightened view. "I don't like Syrah" or "Languedoc only makes plonk" or "2008 was a poor year" etc.

I can name about 30 burgundy appellations but I would still have no clue which of them to choose if I couldn't taste them first.

What does help is a general understanding of what syles of wines are made in which region and from which grape varieties.

I'm also not sure that educating their customers is a great idea for Morrisons. I would suggest they'd be better to keep them in the dark and appeal to them through the tried and tested means of the fake discount. If they educate them, they'll go off to Majestic :D
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Marguerite & Steve
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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Sat 11 Dec 2010 15:38

We have a bottle of wine most evenings, but usually after we have had our meal and relaxed ready to put our feet up. I also notice when we are in the UK we have our evening meal early 5:30-6pm but in France it's nearer 8pm and a glass of wine with our meal...why????
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Post by john » Sat 11 Dec 2010 16:44

Marguerite & Steve wrote: when we are in the UK we have our evening meal early 5:30-6pm but in France it's nearer 8pm and a glass of wine with our meal...why????
Difficult to answer that question,Marg. I guess it's down to a mixture of culture,weather,and opening hours.To me I've always preferred to eat a little later than that,even when we lived in the UK. Though I do think that the Spanish idea of not even thinking about sitting down to eat before about 10pm is going a bit OTT ! On that subject (and it may give a pointer towards an answer to your question),it's always amused me when we've stayed at Spanish hotels where there are significant numbers of British package tour guests,how all the Brits (aided and abetted by Germans) are queueing outside the restaurant at 6.45 to be in good time for its opening at 7.

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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Sat 11 Dec 2010 16:54

..having said that France is an hour ahead, so we would be eating at 6:30-7pm...so not that far out.. :roll:
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Post by polremy » Sat 11 Dec 2010 20:11

We struggle to wait until after 6 to eat.
(That's why the lady is a tramp)
In our defence, we never drink unless we are eating.
Wine goes with food - always!

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Post by Robert Ferrieux » Sat 11 Dec 2010 21:43

from Helen

Disagree with some - agree with others.
Dinner at 6? Unheard of (even when we lived in England). That was supper time for the little ones.
Wine without food? Ditto even if you include that Brit anathema, the cheese-and-wine party. (I mean, who, in all honesty, wants to drink sugary plonk with little squares of cheshire at 6 o'clock in the evening.....or at any time, come to that?)
Tea: ha! The last time we were in UK I remember dying for a cup of tea and going into a tea shop to be told, "Sorry, we're just closing". The time? Almost 5 p.m. Forchrissake, isn't that supposed to be teatime?
Anti-British-Way-of-Life? Qui? Moi? No - just glad I married a French guy who brought me to a civilised country!! :french: :french: :french:

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Post by Marguerite & Steve » Sat 11 Dec 2010 22:03

Robert Ferrieux wrote:from Helen

Disagree with some - agree with others.
Dinner at 6? Unheard of (even when we lived in England). That was supper time for the little ones.
Wine without food? Ditto even if you include that Brit anathema, the cheese-and-wine party. (I mean, who, in all honesty, wants to drink sugary plonk with little squares of cheshire at 6 o'clock in the evening.....or at any time, come to that?)
Tea: ha! The last time we were in UK I remember dying for a cup of tea and going into a tea shop to be told, "Sorry, we're just closing". The time? Almost 5 p.m. Forchrissake, isn't that supposed to be teatime?
Anti-British-Way-of-Life? Qui? Moi? No - just glad I married a French guy who brought me to a civilised country!! :french: :french: :french:

We usually eat when hungry...when we worked it was home and get tea on......and have a glass of wine in the evening, and the majority of people I know and worked with ..this was the norm..
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Post by Rose » Sun 12 Dec 2010 00:10

I have just spent two weeks with my brother in Cambridge because my father has been in hospital. When I am with Sam we never eat before 9p.m. because he doesn't get home until 7.30p.m. and then it's Vera and Phil time - rhyming slang for Vera Lynn and Philarmonic. My brother usually eats at 6.30 to 7.30p.m. - far too early for me. As his wife is looking after her mother after a hip operation I have been cooking and dictating meal times.

I have brought him round to eating at this time and I buy casks of Namaquia - a soft and fruity South African wine. He occasionally comes back with much stronger Australian bottles - too strong for me. Everyone to their own. However, if I make it to the south for Christmas I have 3 bottles of Mas Rouy (spelling?) for the main part of our Christmas meal. It comes from Montesquieu and was on special offer 3 months ago.

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What do we know

Post by Sue » Sun 12 Dec 2010 10:35

We normally eat around 6. Any later than that I dont sleep well as I suffer heartburn from late meals. I usually have a couple of glasses of wine whilst cooking the meal but dont take any with the meal itself. I think there is a lot of snobbery surrounding wine in that if its expensive it must be good and poor if its cheap. At the end of the day its down to what you personally like yourself. Only this week I have poured a bottle of 8 or 9 euro wine down the sink because I didnt like it and reverted to my Lidl 2 euro or less because it suits me. Everyone to their own.
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Re: What do we know

Post by Marguerite & Steve » Sun 12 Dec 2010 10:49

Sue wrote:We normally eat around 6. Any later than that I dont sleep well as I suffer heartburn from late meals. I usually have a couple of glasses of wine whilst cooking the meal but dont take any with the meal itself. I think there is a lot of snobbery surrounding wine in that if its expensive it must be good and poor if its cheap. At the end of the day its down to what you personally like yourself.

I am with you on that one Sue...especially the heartburn and Indigestion. :roll:
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Re: What do we know

Post by john » Sun 12 Dec 2010 10:52

Sue wrote: I think there is a lot of snobbery surrounding wine in that if its expensive it must be good and poor if its cheap. At the end of the day its down to what you personally like yourself. Only this week I have poured a bottle of 8 or 9 euro wine down the sink because I didnt like it and reverted to my Lidl 2 euro or less because it suits me. Everyone to their own.
Couldn't agree more,Sue. I've had wine at a lot more than 9€ a bottle that I've thought was rubbish,and,as you say, some BiB stuff that's excellent.

I know there are people who disagree with me,but I'll repeat that one of the good things about living round here is that ,with the plethora of good,eminently drinkable ,wines at 4 or 5 € a bottle,you can experiment by buying a bottle,"test driving " it,and if it doesn't suit, there's nothing lost.

Of course,the trouble with that approach in the UK is that nearly all the stuff at the bargain end of the market is pretty crappy,so,if you "experiment" at Tescos et al with the 4 quid stuff,you're likely as not to be disappointed. Jon has made this point before,but it never ceases to amaze me how consumers in Britain will drink nothing else but Jacob's Creek,Blossom Hill,Kumala atc etc.

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Post by Santiago » Sun 12 Dec 2010 11:29

If you read a book called "Watching The English" you will learn that the time people eat dinner, and what they call it, is very much class-related.

If you think about how that relates to the choice of alcohol. In previous times, people who ate early would have a cup of tea with it and then go out to the pub for a few beers or drink other things that don't need food - Sherry, shorts etc.

Wine was very much a drink for dinner and for those who ate later.

As wine has become much more popular, the style which appeals to those who eat earlier tends not to be French (or Italian) as those wines usually require food and are not as easy-going and fruity as the New World brands.
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Post by john » Sun 12 Dec 2010 12:15

Santiago wrote:If you read a book called "Watching The English" you will learn that the time people eat dinner, and what they call it, is very much class-related.

.
I'm sure there's a lot in that,Jon. Where I was brought up,for working folk,"dinner" was what you ate in the middle of the day,and the evening meal was "tea" or "supper". But people of a higher social standing had "lunch(eon)" and then "dinner" at night.

I also read a book many years ago that suggested that the French were different because "people of all classes were gourmets". For several years I ,like many people,believed that,but since I've lived here and seen some of the French's very dubious eating habits at first hand,I now see that for the claptrap that it is.

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Post by Robert Ferrieux » Sun 12 Dec 2010 16:47

john wrote:"people of all classes were gourmets". For several years I ,like many people,believed that,but since I've lived here and seen some of the French's very dubious eating habits at first hand,I now see that for the claptrap that it is.
from Helen
Nah, John! It's not claptrap . I defy you to go to any ordinary French family table and say their food is not first class. However I agree wholeheartedly with you about the French's very dubious eating habits: tying a napkin under the chin...leaving their knife and fork splayed out on the plate (AND using the same knife and fork for the next course!!)...eating cheese BEFORE pudding!!! No bread with soup! ** Yup, very dubious indeed.....
`
On the subject of wine, indeed there's some very good wine for literally a couple of euros . The one I'm addicted to costs 2e 80-ish (depending on where you get it - I buy it at Lieder Price) called Picpoule de Pinet. Maybe wine experts wouldn't give it the time of day but to an uneducated palate like mine it tastes pretty damn good. Try it. If you don't like it, well you haven't lost a fortune.

** For 50 winters I've been asking Robert "Would you like some bread with your soup?" and he politely answers "Er, no, I don't think so, thanks". Sacriledge!

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Post by john » Sun 12 Dec 2010 17:15

Robert Ferrieux wrote:[from Helen
Nah, John! It's not claptrap . I defy you to go to any ordinary French family table and say their food is not first class. !
A massive generalisation,Helen,I'm afraid. Sure there are some families in France who eat splendidly,but aren't there are also in UK,Holland,Germany,Spain etc etc?

However,if the wide range of some of the food I've seen consumed by French families in our Summer rental house in St Cyp is anything to go by,there are also plenty who eat the same kind of rubbish as many families do in UK etc(masses of processed food,burgers,chips,nuggets and the like).

I was quoting the book I read that claims that ALL French (irrespective of class) are gourmets. And that,I repeat, IS utter claptrap!

Agree with you about crusty bread with soup and the pleasures of Picpoul de Pinet though......

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Post by Santiago » Sun 12 Dec 2010 17:32

I'm a fan of Picpoul. It's generally good value and a nice clean wine. There's only one I've had that wasn't pleasant. It's called "Ormarine" and had a stale, plastic taste - possibly to do with the plastic cork.

I agree about the snobbish, or simply misguided, idea that spending more money will get you a better wine. That is where knowledge, experience and advice are needed. If I was spending 4 times my usual amount on a bottle of wine, I'd want some advice first. While there is undoubtedly a lot of marketing skulduggery in the world of wine, the main source of disappointment is the perception of "better".

This could be useful http://www.wine-pages.com/resources/20- ... wers.shtml. I supplied the questions but Tom Cannavan wrote the answers.
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