Drink

I’m grateful for my grateful drinking friend

17 February 2018 9:00 am

The phone rang. ‘You are the last person in the world I should be talking to’, proclaimed an old friend…

Tasting the true island spirit: single malts from the Isle of Arran

3 February 2018 9:00 am

Arran, in the Firth of Clyde, is an island whose charms vary with the seasons. In summer, the hills are…

Is the great vintage of 2015 retreating into itself

20 January 2018 9:00 am

We were pondering the relationship between military history and wine vintages. It is extraordinary to think that the French managed…

How Christmas lunch became Christmas dinner

6 January 2018 9:00 am

It was a culinary triumph. My hosts do not spend much time in the UK, and are determined to entertain…

Found in a friend’s cellar — the wines of a lifetime

16 December 2017 9:00 am

In longevity, great wine can march with human life. Creating (better still, maintaining) a fine cellar really is a compact…

Glad tidings from a parish in Burgundy

2 December 2017 9:00 am

Advent: I am sure that all readers deplore the vulgarly commercial aspects of the pre-Christmas season as much as I…

Gender comes in fluid form

18 November 2017 9:00 am

I have lost faith in British boyhood. In mixed schools, young males have failed to seize an opportunity that previous…

We discussed wine, horses and painting at Franco’s in Jermyn Street

4 November 2017 9:00 am

An artist ought to draw on broad human sympathies and an intense commitment to his craft. In both respects, Charles…

A Dutch treat from Bordeaux

21 October 2017 9:00 am

In 1995, a young Dutchman completed an MBA. Banking beckoned. An internship was arranged. But Alexander van Beek thought that…

The pride of Australia

7 October 2017 9:00 am

When she graduated from university in Australia, Sarah Crowe decided to travel. So she sold her car, raised whatever other…

All’s fair in love, Waugh and wine

23 September 2017 9:00 am

I was reminded of Wild West films from boyhood. Then, the beleaguered garrison scanned the horizon; would the US cavalry…

Thank Evans for Quintessentially good wine

9 September 2017 9:00 am

There was an entirely forgotten leftist called Allen Ginsberg, a so-called beat poet (surely an oxymoron) who once produced a…

The countryside’s eternal youth

26 August 2017 9:00 am

I once witnessed a rarer spectacle than Halley’s Comet. I heard Ted Heath tell a funny story. It related to…

The king of clubs is a romantic at heart

12 August 2017 9:00 am

We were discussing romanticism, with me arguing that it should be confined to the boudoir, the bedroom, the library or…

My beef with David Cameron in the cat-house quarter of London

29 July 2017 9:00 am

Insufficient attention has been paid to the history of naughty girls, who deployed allure to prosper in a male-dominated world.…

Over serious claret, I mused on my dreams of a fat-busting pill

15 July 2017 9:00 am

As good conversation should, the talk meandered from the serious to the playful. One of the serious topics was overseas…

Let’s drink to Ruth Davidson and the new Scottish dawn

1 July 2017 9:00 am

‘Stands Scotland where it did?’ As the bottles circulated, we were able to answer Macduff’s question in much more optimistic…

The best way to celebrate the past? Uncork it

17 June 2017 9:00 am

I have been thinking about the Dark Ages. This has nothing to do with Theresa May or Jeremy Corbyn. A…

The best way to view Jeremy Corbyn? Through rosé-tinted glasses

3 June 2017 9:00 am

It was a typical bank holiday. Usual English weather: glorious, until you leave home without a brolly. Then fickleness supervenes…

The 2016 Bordeaux vintage makes up for everything bad the French ever did

20 May 2017 9:00 am

‘That sweet enemy, France.’ It takes a poet to summarise centuries of military and diplomatic history. On a prosaic level,…

Can Rory Stewart MP save a very British bildung?

6 May 2017 9:00 am

Over the long weekend I read a couple of bildungs-romans; one a revisit after many years, the other a recent…

The world is all but lost – at least we’ve found some good caviar

22 April 2017 9:00 am

I argued that it was unnecessary to have made sacrifices during Lent in order to celebrate its conclusion. It is…

A toast to unsung heroes, the god of battles and the infinite desert stars

8 April 2017 9:00 am

We were talking about war, the desert and God. In the early Seventies, one of our number, Christopher James, had…

The charms of old Paris – and the naughtiest girl of the 20th century

25 March 2017 9:00 am

Paris used to be the most self-confident city in the world. Brash, assertive, boastful: Manhattan claimed to be the best.…

Burgundies that taste of T.S. Eliot

11 March 2017 9:00 am

Eliot. After 50 years trying to make sense of his verse, and at the risk of admitting to rampant philistinism,…