Jonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray

Jonathan Ray is The Spectator’s drinks editor.

Inside Portugal’s new theme park for wine lovers

I’ve always loved Porto and need little excuse to visit. Not uncoincidentally, I’ve always loved port and need little excuse to drink it and so, invited to stay in this fine city and road-test its latest attraction, the ambitiously-monikered World of Wine, who was I to resist? There’s been a mixed reception to Wow locally.

The Third Man fan’s guide to Vienna

The greatest movie ever made celebrates its 75th anniversary this year and I’ll be watching it – for the umpteenth time – with appropriately fine fizz at hand. Sorry, what? Oh, come on, I’m talking about The Third Man. There’s no finer film. I thought everyone knew that. You know, written by Graham Greene, directed by Carol

How to spend 48 hours in Munich

So, what are you up to this summer? Going to Germany, right? I mean, with both England and Scotland having qualified for the Uefa 2024 Euros (and with Wales still in with a chance via the play-offs) 14 June to 14 July is surely blocked off in your diary? It certainly is in mine. And

This wine writer needed a detox

I’m just back from a week in Austria and feel on top of the world. Well, if not at the actual summit, maybe about two thirds up. After a lousy year made worse by a Covid Christmas, I was deep in Gloomstown, eating like a pig and drinking like a fish. At almost 64, I was

How much rum can you drink on St Kitts?

It all proved too much for Mrs Ray. We were in St Kitts and Nevis for a week-long Caribbean break and on the flight over I’d wondered aloud how early each day it would be acceptable to start on the rum. I soon got my answer.  Having misguidedly checked in to the St Kitts Marriott

How to spend 48 hours in Tangier

One of the few highlights of newly-released Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny is a frantic chase through 1960s Tangier. It’s breathless, edge-of-the-seat stuff with tuk-tuks, motorcycles, a Jaguar and Mercedes tearing through the narrow streets of the medina, guns blazing and quips flying. I’m told so many tuk-tuks got mangled they needed dozens to shoot

Wine Club: a super summer sale to beat the alcohol duty increase

Hey you there on your sun lounger! Take a gander at this summer sale, courtesy of our chums at FromVineyardsDirect. These are extremely toothsome bin-ends and overstocks at pre-duty increase prices. I’ve tasted them, rejected the also-rans and beaten FVD down on price as much as I can. There are some cracking mystery cases included

Come off it, English wine is delicious

I hate to pick a fight with a fellow Speccie scribe but, as this august organ’s drinks editor, I must take issue with Dr Andrew Cunningham and his recent dismissal of English wine. Andrew lives in West Sussex and I live in East Sussex. He explains that he’s near Nyetimber, Nutbourne and Kinsbrook (not to mention Ambriel, Roebuck

Forget Amsterdam – spend a weekend in the Hague

I love Amsterdam. I go every year for the galleries, the opera, the beer, the genever, the rijsttaffel, the brown cafés and, well, the fun. I’ve had many a fine time there, sometimes with and sometimes without dear Mrs Ray. It’s a top place.  I was cut to the quick, then, on hearing recently that the

Wine Club: great value picks from Argentina’s Penedo Borges

Well, crikey, that was fun! The recent inaugural Spectator tour of Champagne, that is. We had a hoot, visiting five producers and enjoying two first-rate dinners courtesy of Taittinger and Pol Roger. We learned lots, laughed lots, drank lots and I don’t think a single spittoon was sullied during the entire trip. Bravo! Oh, and

Wine Club: perfect summer fare from Swig

There are worse ways of spending the late May bank holiday than tasting a dozen or so wines from Swig, the merchant beloved of my sainted predecessors Messrs Waugh and Hoggart. Mrs Ray did question why I had to start so early, finish so late and ask so many neighbours to help but then she,

Wine Club: a fine Italian selection from Mr Wheeler

Feeling desperately fragile after a cocktail-soaked long weekend with Lunch Club in Berlin, I tried to appease an exasperated, eye-rolling Mrs Ray by vowing never to drink again. Wouldn’t touch a drop. As I rallied, though, and the Berliner katzenjammer slowly cleared, I pulled myself together and pointed out that there was work to do

Wine Club: six beauties from Yapp Brothers

I’m seeing Jason Yapp next week and am deeply nervous. It’s been a while since we caught up and as followers of this column might recall, he and wicked step-brother Tom Ashworth have form in leading me astray. I think I told you about our little adventure in that backstreet bar in Biarritz. It was

Good pinot noir is notoriously hard to find

It’s uncanny, but if I gauge it right, I can summon my wife as if by magic. Mrs R’s hearing is at its most acute in that lull between her afternoon Earl Grey and evening G&T, at which point she can hear me pop a cork from two floors away. She’ll be down in a trice,

Wine Club: six pale, pale pink rosés from FromVineyardsDirect

If you don’t like fine, well-priced Provencal rosé – crisp, clean, lively, refreshing and perfect for spring – then look away now. If, however, you’re an out ’n’ proud pink-drink lover like me then what are you waiting for? Get stuck in! Rosé has never been more popular, and with reason: the best are very

Wine Club: six moreish Riojas from Honest Grapes

Mrs Ray can’t stop humming. She loves this time of year. It might be sheeting down and there might be a massive leak in our roof which none of five different builders has managed to fix, but all she notices are the daffs in full bloom, the fluffy pink cherry blossom and her treasured magnolia

Wine Club: another Spectator scoop from Chateau Musar

Whoop, whoop, it’s another Spectator scoop! Mighty Ch. Musar of Lebanon has just released its latest – 2017 – vintage, and wily Johnny Wheeler has ensured that readers are the first in the UK to get their hands on it. This wine is not available anywhere else until Easter and, with Musar repositioning the brand