“The only way of rendering life endurable is to drink as much wine as one can come by.”

James Branch Cabell, Beyond


I was tasting a rather nice glass of wine yesterday when it dawned on me that Id never written a column in all these years about its country of origin, Austria.

Shock horror indeed, but who drinks it, even with its thousand year wine history?

The problem for the Austrians was that all their history counted for nothing when some of their intrepid winemakers were caught adding antifreeze to the vats to bump up the sweetness in the 80’s.

They are better known for their whites but fear not red lovers because there’s something for everyone in this land of musical valleys, and joy of joys, they have even started to use recogniseable grape varieties like Merlot.

You have to take care however unless you have a degree in Austrian and a doctorate in lunacy because their wine classification has to be the most complicated in the world.

Imagine a committee of technocrats arriving drunk for a meeting, then half of them snorting coke and the other half eating magic mushrooms before sitting down to decide on the wine rules, and you come close to the problem.

Anyway, I’ve probably guaranteed myself rubber glove search if I ever visit Austria after this, but trust me my teutonic friends, this was me sugar coating it.

Pip pip for another week

Blauer Zweigelt Reserve 2012 Peter Dolle

Dark cherrie flavours with spicy notes and black pepper. Fabulous with steak or rich dishes but it can be brutal on its own.

Davy Wine Co £19.95

Jubilee’ Pinot Gris, Domaine Hugel

This is a cracker with expressive tropical fruits on the nose and a Chablis stlye minerality about the palate. Gorgeous with shellfish.

The Guilford Wine Company £36.99

Gerard Richardson MBE

Drinks columnist for Newsquest