Org de Rac’s Verdelho Beauty

 

For anyone who has visited the magic green island of Madeira, the mere thought of the word Verdelho leads one to stop in your tracks and think of mile-high mountains, an endless flat ocean and cellars filled with ancient barrels of richly scented wine. For it is the cooked wines of the island that have made this grape the stuff of legend. And just like it is difficult to think of a real cigar coming outside of Cuba or a slice of springbok biltong not originating from the dry plains of the Karoo, talking of Verdelho outside of Madeira tends to end in an area of abrupt nowhere-ness.

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Cigar Smoke Likes it Fresh and Cool

Just as the belief that certain wines are best paired with specific dishes is a fake-news device designed by sommeliers and chefs to make their professions marketable, so too is the doctrine assuming that specific beverages are more suited for enjoying with cigars than others.

When lighting a dense, hot Cuban cigar, current wisdom would have it that this mouthful of exotic smoky residue gains an extra dimension when flushed over with a Cognac, Single Malt Whisky or fine glass of Port. Don’t get me wrong: a Partagas Series D No. 4 draws deliciously into a mouth still reminiscing about the flavour of a Graham’s 1963 Vintage Port or a pre-War Frapin Cognac.

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Swartland Organic Org de Rac Showing its Class

I first met Frank Meaker in one of the coldest winters Paris has ever experienced. It was 1985, the weather so cold that the Five Nations rugby match between France and Scotland, which had drawn us to meet up in the City of Light, was cancelled as the Parc des Princes’s turf had frozen solid, making play unsafe and not conducive to avoiding cracked skulls and crushed bones.

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