Wine trade bug

Screw Portuguese wine… but in a good way!

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Qunita de Azevedo 2010When you think of Portugal what springs to mind? If you asked Mr Bouquet he’d say golf and sand, if you asked Brother Bouquet he’d say stolen wetsuits and surfing. And if you’d asked me even a couple of years ago I’d have said Mateus rosé and post A-level sun. But for most in the wine-know, unsurprisingly, they’d say Port and corks, and with good reason. The country’s cork trees account for 50% of the world’s total cork production, and of course, Port can only be labelled as such if it’s made in Port-ugal!

Without doubt, in terms of growth in reputation and excitement Portuguese still wines have become the next big wine thing in the UK. ………

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Message in a bottle….

Thursday, September 23rd, 2010

nhs birmingham message 3 nhs birmingham message nhs birmingham message 2

I was recently sent a press release of a very different kind. Instead of someone asking me to try their wines and encouraging others to drink it this release was actively asking me to abstain! Odd.

It went on to explain how having three alcohol free days a week could make a real difference to my health*. Ok, logical.

But what really caught my eye were the slogans they’d created and the way they portrayed the situations of the people they were targeting, especially for a government funded health campaign. With slogans like ‘put the washing on without getting loaded‘ ‘ have dinner without the sauce’ ‘do the dishes without a glass’ and my favourite ‘watch the tv without a G&T’ they’re mildly amusing albeit painfully stereotypical. ………

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Words can paint a thousand pictures…..

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

wine_list+frameIn my day job I spend a lot of time writing tasting notes, reading tasting notes and correcting tasting notes. Sometimes they’re to go on the back of wine bottles, sometimes onto wine menus, and others go completely unseen tucked away in my little black book. I often feel embarrassed when someone glances at what I’ve written as my wine-short-hand is pretty personal and I have some unusual acronyms. My favourite is MLP. Its short for My Little Pony and it’s an aroma I often get on red wines that are slightly reduced or have an excessive amount of residual sugar. It reminds me of that sweet plastic smell that also hung to the little plastic Care Bear figurines…. You see, I told you it was personal!

And just as a tasting note you write is personal to you so should the tasting note written on the back of a wine bottle be personal to that wine. Having said that I come across far too many back labels and wine menu notes that are boring generic statements that have been written in a one size fits all manner to reduce printing costs and brain power, I assume. You’ve all seen them;


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Miss Bouquet’s World Wine Flag – The Results!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

WWF_logoThe results are in! The wines selected to fly the Miss Bouquet World Wine Flag are ready to be revealed! Last month, when England was still in the World Cup and the St George’s cross was freckling the streets I got a group of football widows together for a night flying a flag of a different kind. The World Wine Flag. Red, white and rosé of course.

Why? Well I’ve sat through my fair share of formulaic wine trade seminars in my time, you know the ones with the dramatic sounding titles that lead you to believe that by attending this seminar you’ll walk away with the key to abundant wine sales at profitable margins for years to come. My most recent experience of this time wasting exercise was at the London International Wine Fair 2010 in May. The seminar was alluringly titled:

“Where is the UK wine category heading”


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Flying the World Wine Flag…..

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

flag (2) copyAs the world cup approaches I don’t seem to be able to escape football, Ferdinand and flags. The union jack is popping up in more London windows than there were election posters and white vans are already freckled with red crosses. Chez Miss Bouquet however I’m determined not to let football fever get in the way of a good glass of wine so I’m starting a little project which will raise a flag of a different kind; the wine flag. Red, white and rosé. Of course.

The idea is to gather a group of football widows during one of the first round England matches to taste through a selection of wines and find out what girls-about-London-town have a taste for this summer.

The date is confirmed and will be held on Friday 18th June for England v Algeria. ………

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The trouble with wines by the glass, episode II

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

Glasses-of-wineIf you’ve been following me for a while you’ll be familiar with the term ‘mini measures.’ It’s a phrase I’ve coined for trying different wines without having to think about it too much. The idea is simple, instead of ordering a bottle you order small glasses of different wines throughout an evening thereby trying something new whilst helping to avoid a fuzzy head the next day (that last part is entirely in your own hands of course!)

I’ve been enjoying practising what I preach for months now and it’s been going pretty well. But lately I’ve noticed this simple try-it-and-see practice isn’t as satisfying as it should be as I’ve frequently been walking away from the bar unconvinced that what’s in my glass is actually what I asked for. It’s like standing at the checkout at the supermarket, you know the scenario; “Would you like a bag madam?” “Yes/No” (delete as appropriate) only to find that the cashier has bone-idley decided to give you one anyway. (Dear cashier, if you offer me a choice please allow me to choose.) ………

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