Yarnstorm was the first blog I ever read and was partly what inspired me to get together with Amanda and write this one. Five years later I am still a huge fan of Jane Brocket’s lovely posts on baking, gardening and craft.
Jane has gone from strength to strength both as a blogger and as the author of some beautifully inspiring books, my favourite being The Gentle Art of Domesticity. She has a new book Vintage Cakes: Tremendously Good Cakes for Sharing and Giving, coming out in September, which is the first cake and baking book to combine cake history, fabulous recipes and vintage styling.
We are delighted that Jane is now a regular reader of TWR and when she was in London recently we met up for tea and cake (obvs) and she told me about her new blog Winestorm.
Why a wine blog?
After seven years of blogging about domesticity on my ‘yarnstorm’ blog, I realised I’d got the hang of blogging, and wanted to turn my attention to the other great interest in my life: wine.
I was in the wine trade for years; I started as a brand manager for a trio of champagnes (what a great way to begin!), then worked freelance, mostly in marketing and education for companies such as Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. I’ve been a Master of Wine since 1992, and am still as passionate about wine as ever, despite the recent detour into blogging and writing books.
I felt wine needed its own separate blog; even though for me it blends into all the aspects of life that I write about elsewhere (wine with knitting, books, cakes, quilts, art, films, and friends are all fine pairings), I’m not so sure that readers want wine mixed in with domestic posts. ‘Winestorm’ was the obvious choice of name.
I imagine its mainly women who read yarnstorm, so are you writing Winestorm specifically with women in mind, and do you think they have different palates to men?
I’m not writing consciously and specifically for women – it’s really for anyone who wants to read about wine from a consumer’s angle and with a different point of view to the traditional, rather dry and uninspiring label/variety/region/vintage approach. There’s so much more to wine, and the established way of writing about wine overlooks the vast range of wine moods and moments that are there to be enjoyed (as well as all the funny, interesting, often visually stunning, aspects of wine style and culture).
But yes, I do think in very general terms that women taste, buy, and drink wine in a different way to men. I don’t know how scientifically proven it is, but women often have fantastic palates and are extremely good, intuitive, natural tasters, although they don’t always realise it – too often they are intimidated by the more vocal, noisy, competitive ‘male’ approach which makes them doubt their abilities. Women buy around 80% of all the wine purchased in this country and base their decisions on quite different criteria to men (who, very broadly speaking, go for status, labels, and scores). No wonder the wine trade is at last beginning to acknowledge that there could be more womanly approach to wine.
Amanda often writes about perfume on TWR and she sometimes finds it quite hard to accurately describe a smell, is it the same with wine and are you a fan of the “it has a hint of battery acid” school of description?
When you are tasting wines blind (ie without seeing the label), or for professional reasons or for exams, you do need to be able to distinguish the tiniest nuances and differences, and you have to find ways of describing them, which is why so many detailed tasting notes are the stuff of parody and Private Eye’s Pseuds’ Corner. But when it comes to every day wine tasting and discussion of wines, then I’m not keen on exaggeration and overstatement; it’s quite easy to sum up a wine in a few key words without making your reader or listener think you’ve lost your marbles. I prefer descriptions that use commonly known, meaningful references. It’s lovely when I’m describing a wine at a tasting and someone says, ‘oh yes, I see what you mean. I can get lime/petrol/toast/apples/roses/vanilla/pencil shavings!’
Finally, what reasonably priced and easily available wine are you currently loving?
In the fridge I have the Marquis de Pennautier Viognier 2010 from the Languedoc , which is £7.99 from Majestic. The best Viognier wines of all come from Condrieu which is a tiny appellation in the Rhône, and the prices are correspondingly high. This wine is great because it has something of the Condrieu style at a fraction of the price. The classic full-bodied, apricots and nectarines style is there, and it’s a delicious everyday wine which is great on its own and ideal for drinking with friends or while cooking tea (not supper!).
I don’t know about you, but I’m off to Majestic, as “classic full-bodied, apricots and nectarines”, sounds just right for my intuitive palette. Put Winestorm in your favourites now!