Every Wine Tells a Story

Had an email last year from Tara Devon O’Leary, aka The Wine Passionista. ‘I am looking for your personal experience of the one wine you tasted in 2010 that remains on your mind for how it surprised, impressed, stirred or impacted you.’ Tara’s from London but has lived in various desirable parts of the world such as the Bahamas, Florida and Santa Barbara, acquiring extensive wine knowledge in the process. She came up with the idea of asking various wine peeps to describe an occasion on which they drank a special bottle and then to publish these anecdotes in a book. And as she’s also taller than me, I felt I couldn’t refuse her request….

The book, Every Wine Tells a Story, has just been released, and is what I call ideal toilet reading for the wine lover – short entertaining pieces that you can get through while spending a while in the smallest room. Contributors include Steven Spurrier, Decanter-editor Guy Woodward, Richard Hemming (part of team Jancis and apprentice Tom Lehrer) and yours truly. Here’s my contribution…


This isn’t the finest wine I’ve had this year, and it’s certainly not the most expensive. But as a right-place-at-right-time wine, I’m struggling to think of one better.

I’d spent much of the day driving along the Côte d’Azur singing loudly and badly with the windows open. The previous fortnight had given me plenty of opportunities to experience the ‘pleasures’ of French radio and, honestly Frenchies, how do you put up with such dross? Channels for people who think Chicago are cutting edge, channels full of self-important people droning on about nothing in particular, channels of mur-to-mur ballads… After hours of fruitless fiddling, I eventually settled on a station called Skyrock! – I imagine it has an exclamation mark – and immersed myself in Le Top Ten. So much so that I eventually could join in with Rihanna and Eminem and whoever else came up over the airwaves.

Anyway, after this final day of visiting wineries and wailing along to Katy Perry (‘Gonna get your heart racin’ in my skin-tight jeans etc’), I found myself with a free evening. Free evenings on wine trips are curiously satisfying – you don’t have to be polite about wines you don’t like, you don’t have to finish dinner at midnight, and you can go to bed when you get bored. And if the food’s good, you can lick your plate and no one complains…


If you want to know how the story finishes, you’re going to have to buy the book. It’s due to be on Amazon later in the year, but for the moment, the best place to secure a copy is through www.everywinetellsastory.com. There are details there of all the contributors, the Facebook page and how to get involved if you have a story for the 2011 edition.

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