As I chat to my friends and wine tasting event clients, I hear time and again that people are keen to know just that bit more about how to choose wine. Nothing too high-brow or time-consuming, but useful tips and suggestions for making sense of the wall of wines on offer in supermarkets and on the restaurant wine list would be very welcome.
My holiday reading whilst in the Auvergne last week was ‘The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club’ by Helen McGinn (who also writes a blog by the same name www.knackeredmotherswineclub.com) and this book ticks all the above boxes.
I first came across Helen’s blog a year or so ago when I spotted her tweeting @knackeredmutha. A former wine buyer for Tesco, she started her own wine business after having children and would regularly email her wine-bemused friends who sought her advice while struggling with the myriad of choices the wine world presents to us. She subsequently developed these emails into a regular weekly blog post where she suggested one white wine – “fridge-door whites” and one red – “in-the-rack reds”.
The book was published earlier this month. It provides a comprehensive and very-easy-to-follow guide to stepping out of the comfort zone of Pinot Grigio and Shiraz, with well-reasoned and helpful suggestions for all manner of situations that require a glass of wine. There are useful tables to explain how a wine from particular grape variety tastes, which region does it best and which foods match well with it. Some of the recommended wines to try perhaps wouldn’t be my choice but tastes are different and what Helen does provide is good advice for moving on from those wines you might have become too familiar with and drink all the time.
There is no wine snobbery in this book and no previous knowledge of wine is required by the reader. It is down-to-earth and very funny. If you are a knackered mother yourself, you will relate to Helen’s frantic life and you will soon be looking forward to sitting down of an evening, children tucked up in bed, to a glass of something delicious at the end of a tiring day. After all, as Helen points out, “Life’s too short to drink bad wine”.