Previously, on OfMustAndMash… #MWWC9

Wine and oliveThis blog is starting to look like an old hut in an abandoned vineyard. Shame nature cannot take over the digital world as brilliantly and fascinatingly as it does in the real world. A blog wasteland is just not as poetic nor does it have any purpose.

On the plus side however, there isn’t much tidying up to do when I come back to it. So what has happened since the last time there was any light in the cabin I hear you ask…?

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Bruwer Raats – Family Cabernet Franc 2010

Bruwer Raats - Family CFI discovered Bruwer’s wines from South Africa about 7 months ago following the Naked Wines’ Tasting Tour back in June. I had picked up on raving reviews from some big wine guns and when I sampled his wines at the tasting it was pretty special so I bagged myself a Dolomite Cabernet Franc to start with. The Dolomite is Bruwer’s entry level and a perfect place to start in my opinion. It’s like a lighter version of the family.

Quote from my review on Naked Wines’ website at the time “one quick pointer to how good it is is how quickly we’ve downed it despite its 14% rating. It is sooo drinkable it’s like fruit juice”.

But on Valentine’s night, which we decided to spend at home with some cured meat and cheeses, it was the perfect excuse to try something a bit more special. Continue reading

Blind tasting #1


Over the last 2.5 years, through the use of this blog, twitter and other social media, my network has considerably extended. The various means of communication on offer today are mesmerising. Speaking a second language is also an enjoyable bonus as it creates even more opportunities to extend your reach.  I can communicate directly with journalists, bloggers, winemakers, wine critics….. politicians… Anyone who speaks French or English. In the Mondovino, Continue reading

Beer of the week – Siren Craft Brew Undercurrent

DSC_0058I found this little treasure in the veg drawer of my fridge when I started putting my Lancashire Hotpot together earlier. Whilst we will be trying out a Gigondas from Aldi with the hotpot, I thought “what the hell, the chef needs a beer”.

I first heard of and tasted the Siren Craft Brew ales shortly after their official launch at one of the Craft Beer Co pubs in London back in March this year. I loved their beers straight away, they were clean, flavoursome, unique and refreshing and a few more adjectives could surely be used.

Most recently I had the keg version of the Undercurrent from Brewdog in Manchester. It was crisp but malty with a good hoppy finish but I thought there was something missing.

Well I am now enjoying the bottle version and nothing is missing for sure. Even the dead yeast (is it called lees as well in the world of beer ?) is still there. It pours a hazy brown/copper and smells of orange peel and grapefruit, exotic spices and – let’s get lyrical – orange blossom. It’s bodily on the palate with some sweet oaty malts. A bitter citrus pith together with some floral notes keeps the midpalate fresh and sharp. The caramel malts make their way down softly, leaving a biscuity finish. It’s a pretty damn fine beer.

This Siren Brew Co Undercurrent bottle came from the Chorlton off-licence where you can get it for £2.50…who said craft beer was expensive?

Dog Point Vineyards Tasting

I don’t know if one should find a correlation between the Food & Drink programme on BBC 2, co-presented by Kate Goodman earlier this year, and the increasing stream of wine “celebs” who have been turning up in her little shop, Reserve Wines, in West Didsbury. Last week, Margaret and Ivan Sutherland from Dog Point Vineyards came to introduce a bunch of South Mancunians to their wares from the other side of the globe.

Dog Point Vineyards was born out of friendship and common values between James Healy the oenologist and Continue reading

#Beerbods 2: Salopian Brewery – Darwin’s Origin

DSC_0003bThis is one from the Beer Bods selection and since Thursday was Wine of the Week day, I am enjoying this beer tonight on a quiet and homely Saturday evening.

Gold, light copper, nice carbonation and a thin frothy head. An inviting sweetly spiced, honeyed aroma, grapefruit and orange peel and hints of tropical fruit. Soft and sweet malty body but a tight pithy structure from the bitter hops. Very clean citrus finish with a hint of spice.

A bitter in style, but a very flavoursome and well-crafted one. Definitely one of the best I have had recently despite IMBC (I guess I was concentrating on the bolder, lesser known styles). And at 4.3% I’d happily down a few of these if I were to find it in the local pub (there is unfortunately very little chance of it happening).

Salopian Brewery are based in Shrewsbury, Shropshire and the Darwin’s Origin has won several gold SIBA awards over the last 3 years.


Embeleso Rioja Crianza 2010 – Italy meets Spain

DSC_0010bCork out… first taste… It’s a bit volatile, a bit harsh, the tannins are angry, they’ve been stuck in there too long… although not really long enough to age, mature and wisen. So they jump about everywhere, roaring like a young Lion, not quite ready to be in control… yet. But there is plenty of fruit hiding behind this mess. A lot of blackberries, picked at the end of a long, Continue reading


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