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1 June 2020

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Hail Hot Bottlers!

Welcome to sunny June! I’m thrilled by the natural world flourishing in the golden glow of all this sunshine and delighted to be able to share a bit of it for Planet SOS for Mail + - a lovely new series online that this week highlights the plight of bees in the UK.  As Patron of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust I was more than happy to help with this little film.  Check it out here and you might pick up some tips of how to help out bees and encourage them into your garden.


I also spent some of last week creating LOCKTAILS! I even fashioned a rustic cocktail bar in my garden to be filmed (safely at a 2m distance) for Mail +.  Lovely to edge towards that elusive holiday to home feeling just by adding a few cocktail umbrellas, a slice of exotic fruit and a few splashes of rum!  Keep an eye on the Mail + website for the films and recipes coming soon.


A litttle bonus bottle for you today as I was blown away by the quality of this fizz from Berry Bros & Rudd and just had to share. The BBR Blanc de Blancs 2015 (12%) £27.95 from Hambledon vineyard is one of the best bottles of English fizz I’ve tasted yet. The flavour intensity is profound and piercing with thrilling lemony power along with subtle toasty and nutty nuances. Poise, polish and class come together in a vivacious wine that while tasting gorgeous today, will endure and evolve for a decade and more.  Get your mitts on it for a special treat.


I'm back on Saturday Kitchen this weekend with Matt in the studio, chefs Sam Evans and Shauna Guinn and guest Jo Brand live on video link.  Tune in from 10am on BBC One this Saturday 6th June for tasty treats and winning wines.


Ever tasted wine from a can?  Maybe on the way somewhere or at a festival? It's a hugely growing market and I was really interested to delve a bit deeper when I hosted an online tasting of 5 canned wines with a panel of top wine critics to discuss our thoughts on them.  I'd love to know your opinions on canned wine – I was expecting rosé and whites to be the runaway success and was surprised to be so impressed by Coppola’s Diamond Series Pinot Noir in a can. Red of heaven!


Behold my Value Vino picks this week - I've found some stunners for you to get stuck into as we slide into these heady summer months:

M&S Fresh and Fruity Chenin Blanc 2019 (12.5%) £5 (in store Marks & Spencer). A pear in a pencil sharpener. This is lively, zesty, good value refreshment. One to pour liberally at that first barbecue!

Co-Op Irresistible Bio Bio Valley Malbec 2017 (13.5%) £7. Black cherries the size of boxing gloves pummeling a sack of peppercorns. This spicy, fruity big hitter is all you need for steak night.

Yealands Sauvignon Blanc 2019 (12.5%) £7 on offer until 16th June Sainsbury’s  Zingy and vibrant as a guava that’s swallowed an alarm clock. This punchy zesty, tropical summertime sipper is great with garlic prawns.

L’Atzar Cava Reserva Spain 2017 (11.5%) on offer for £7.99 Waitrose. Jump on this offer (down from £10.99 until 9th June) and sail on a cascade of bubbles through this splendid sparkler. Excellent complexity and some evolving savoury richness framed with lovely vibrancy make this a total steal for the cash.

River Grandeur Sauvignon Blanc, Viljoensdrift 2018 (12.5%) £9.50 Tanners. A Granny Smith’s apple chanelling a thousand volts of tropical surging splendour. Invigoration ignition!

Right, I'm off to record a single.  YES! I've set myself a challenge for this week's Isolation Diary - to record and release my own single. I’m recording a song I used to sing around the bars of Edinburgh when I lived there some years ago (less than a century, more than a decade). I’ll send a link to listen next week, all I’ll say is I am LOVING turning my office into a recording studio. Album next? Who knows.

Have a wonderful week and keep in touch,

Olly x

Instagram @ollysmith

Facebook @jollyolly

Twitter @jollyolly



  Olly Smith