Drink

A toast to the wisdom – and wit – of Norman Stone

6 July 2019 9:00 am

We were in a club, discussing Norman Stone, recently departed, over a meal that he would have enjoyed. Norman divided…

Ian Botham's Ozzie Chardonnay is too good for the convicts

22 June 2019 9:00 am

Cricket is the most gracious of games. County grounds in the lee of cathedrals, village greens in the perfect setting…

In an era of illusion and fantasy, let the wine do the talking

8 June 2019 8:00 am

We had all said everything there was to say about Brexit a hundred times over. So the conversation took different…

Debunking the Greek wine myth

25 May 2019 9:00 am

A book, a bottle, a bower set in an ancient garden: you think that if you walked round the right…

Save us from fads and change for change’s sake

11 May 2019 9:00 am

There is no new thing under the sun. Over the weekend, I read a book which was alarmingly relevant to…

Finding hope in poetry, politics – and white Burgundy

27 April 2019 9:00 am

During the Middle Ages, some of the monastic halls which evolved into Oxbridge colleges allowed their younger inmates to indulge…

Durdle Door, Dorset (istockphoto.com)

Independence for Dorset? I’ll raise a glass to that

13 April 2019 9:00 am

There was a shrewd old Tory MP called John Stokes. He was not on the left of the party. Indeed,…

Three Tories gather for a convivial, and consolatory, glass of wine

30 March 2019 9:00 am

Three tribal Tories had gathered for a convivial glass, and also a consolatory one. One quoted Huskisson’s verdict after Goderich’s…

Red meat and red wine: the ideal way to spend the first Sunday of Lent

14 March 2019 9:00 am

Life is far too important to be taken seriously. At least, that was the conclusion which we meandered towards as…

Twenty years on, the Walbrook is still an enchantment

2 March 2019 9:00 am

Early last century, an impoverished youth emerged from the East End. Able and hard-working, he discovered — as many had…

Only the south offers beer lovers a decent pint

16 February 2019 9:00 am

We were discussing beer. It is a cheerful subject so I made an appropriate point. In recent years, the quality…

Is wine an art?

2 February 2019 9:00 am

Acouple of lawyers were disagreeing about a matter which could become increasingly relevant. Could a sitting president pardon himself? But…

Forget Dry January – if there was ever a month to drink, this is it

19 January 2019 9:00 am

January really is the cruellest month. No wonder some fortunate friends have dodged the column of dreary weather and short…

Barolo, the only comfort in a world full of chaos

5 January 2019 9:00 am

It appeared to be an uneven contest. A few friends were meeting for a festive wine-tasting, to compare and contrast…

In the midst of Brexit agony, one thing remains certain: disputation needs drink

15 December 2018 9:00 am

It is enough to drive a fellow to the bottle. I am not given to agnosticism. My view is that…

Why our soldiers are more impressive than every other kind of leader

8 December 2018 9:00 am

One of the pleasures of journalism is the opportunity to meet eminent persons: bankers, businessmen, civil servants, diplomats, politicians, vignerons.…

The paradox of Burgundy

24 November 2018 9:00 am

I was trying to remember what I once knew about the theology of the Reformation and especially the various factions’…

How violence in France led to the creation of London’s Courtauld Gallery

10 November 2018 9:00 am

Darkness, but not the blanket of the dark. This was a sinister darkness, beset by smoke and flames, by the…

Searching for God in the twilight on the Aegean Sea

27 October 2018 9:00 am

My friend Jonathan Gaisman recently gave rise to a profound philosophical question concerning wine. Jonathan is formidably clever. He has…

Disloyal toast: this is the worst cabinet vintage ever

13 October 2018 9:00 am

Drink and democracy have one important point in common: an ambivalent relationship with discord. They can mitigate it. They can…

Stockbridge, Hampshire: an unexpected gastronomical haven

29 September 2018 9:00 am

‘The doors clap to, the pane is blind with showers / Pass me the bottle, old lad, there’s an end of summer.’…

My host’s reciprocity was almost embarrassingly generous

15 September 2018 9:00 am

Peace came dropping slow. I have never regarded west Flanders as part of la France profonde, but here we were,…

The great Seven Stars – but not, alas, its furry bar staff – is immune to change

1 September 2018 9:00 am

Roy Hattersley once wrote a plangent passage about a painful aspect of the human condition: the short span of animals’…

Wine, women and willow: a perfect combo for a perfect English summer day

18 August 2018 9:00 am

The first time I went to Lord’s was in 1970, just before the unofficial Test series which replaced the cancelled…

The pleasures of mindful drinking

4 August 2018 9:00 am

When I was at school, some time before the last ice age, the final day of term was a quasi-holiday.…