hich do you prefer — punk rock or prog rock? Although the answer (even if it is ‘neither’) is likely to reveal something about your own vintage, it could also reflect on what sort of wine you prefer — complex and over-elaborate like, say, Pink Floyd, or brash, loud and uncomplicated like, say, the Sex Pistols.
Elsewhere in the issue we look at the drinking habits of another small but influential group of mavericks: our MPs, who have seen a marked change in the price and quantity of liquid refreshments available to them in the Palace ofWestminster’s many ancient watering holes.
In wine terms, the latter is being increasingly represented by ‘natural wine’, a small but growing movement of producers who go a step further than organic and biodynamic production to try to remove as much human intervention as possible from all stages of winemaking. Much like punk rock, the result may not be to everyone’s taste, but it is likely to turn out to be influential on the mainstream. In this issue, Simon Woods offers a beginner’s guide to the phenomenon, including stockists and a few suggestions for your first natural bottles to try.
The atmosphere may have changed a great deal since the days of Pitt the Younger, who would not have dreamed of standing up to make a speech without at least one bottle of port inside him. But, says Simon Hoggart, there are still a few perfectly decent House house wines available to the modern, more sober MP (though they may have trouble claiming them on expenses).
Another group of professionals who watch what they drink far more these days are sportspeople. In our special report, no less a sporting giant than Sir Ian Botham tells SpectatorScoff exclusively how, in the old days, the stars were pretty much left to their own devices in the delicate areas of pre-, post- and mid-match ‘nutrition’, with his own preference for a warm-up routine being a pork pie and a cigar. How different from today, when a team of 12 national specialists means Britain leads the world in ‘performance nutrition’.
Interestingly, it emerged during research for this article that food could play a significant part in any hopedfor successes at our home Olympics in 2012, as athletes will be able to enjoy good genuine home cooking to a much greater extent than they were in, say, Beijing. So the plan will be to eat our way to victory: you heard it here first.
Jonathan Ray and Dan Jellinek,
co-editors, SpectatorScoff firstname.lastname@example.org,
potted guide to the best of our web articles and blogs this season. Just visit www.spectator.co.uk/ scoff and search or add the links below each entry to the web address above.
Tasting notes: SpectatorScoff co-editor Dan Jellinek is impressed by the rise of festival food when he visits the WOMADworld music bash inWiltshire: 6171003/tasting-notes.thtml Not Grotty: Tim Harrison rails against detractors of Lanzarote: 6185838/an-island-maligned.thtml
SnailTrail: A trip to a Bordeaux market forces Frank Armstrong to confront his squeamish side: 6125943/dining-out-on-the-snailtrail.thtml Back to Reality: Marina Ray tries out her newfound tropical cooking skills back in colder climes: 6168048/marinas-malaysia-back-to-reality.thtml
Simple Feast: Catching fresh fish tends to be a lot more trouble than cooking them, says Tilly Culme-Seymour: 6128373/how-to-cook-fresh-fish.thtml
Red Beefsteak: Kelly Falconer prays for rain, and finds that neglected tomato plants can be reawakened: 6231878/bloody-mary.thtml spectatorscoff | Autumn 2010 | www.spectator.co.uk/scoff