Monday, November 13, 2023

Fried Eggs and Rioja - Victoria Moore

I entered the wine trade pre smartphone, when books were still both the obvious and best way to learn the theories of wine and food matching. A lot has changed since 1999 - most notably what wine costs. if you take the cost of a Grand Marque champagne they sat between £20 and £25 for a good non vintage bottle and for the same money you could get really good still wine - everything but the most prestigious of names. Those champagnes cost around £50 now, but some of the clarets I used to love are £150 and more which is unrealistic on a bookseller's wage. 

How we buy wine changed too - Supermarkets hadn't entirely dominated how and what we drink in the late 90s - at the end of my time as a wine specialist for Waitrose the sheer quantity of Sauvignon Blanc and the slow disappearance of varietals was not making my job any more interesting. The search for cheaper wines to mitigate rising costs is turning that around again and sometimes I feel like an absolute beginner again when I look around the shelves. 

Apps make the business of choosing something to go with dinner relatively easy, though I do not believe that they can do the same thing as I did - it's not just about finding the technically right match, but understanding what the person buying likes and being able to accurately identify what the main flavour in a dish actually is. 

Books might not be the most obvious place to learn from anymore (certainly not judging by sales - classic annual wine guides no longer sell quite like hot cakes) but I'd argue they're still the best because they teach you all the how and why so you can more or less work it out for yourself after a while. Even if you're not familiar with a grape the description on the label ought to provide the necessary clues to figure out if it'll work the way you want it too with food. 

Which brings me to Victoria Moore's Fried Eggs and Rioja: What to Drink With Absolutley Everything. The paperback came out in 2022 so it's still up to date in terms of what we're eating. Moore is an excellent writer and this is a perfect little gift/stocking filler for anyone interested in getting the most out of their food and wine.

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