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18 May 2020

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Hail Hot Bottlers!

The sun is up! Here’s to brighter days and reconnecting together. I’ve been inspired by my guests on the brand new series of A Glass With...The podcast that drinks with the stars returns early in June and you can catch up with the previous six series, bonus episodes and all the show notes at aglasswith.com.


The quest to lure Pierce Brosnan on the show continues - feel free to dive in with any suggestions of any other stars you’d love to hear me share A Glass With. I’ve also just begun recording some interviews for The Media Lunch Club, the first episode is with my brother Will. The outrageously talented fellow has won two Emmys for his work as part of the writing and production team on Veep for HBO, he’s one of the minds behind The Thick Of It, Avenue 5 with Hugh Laurie and knows a thing or two about Bergerac too. Tune in here to have a listen.


And so to this week’s Value Vino!  Stock up on these beauties for the hot week ahead:

Cellier des Dauphins Côtes du Rhône White – Cuvée Speciale 2018 (13%) £8 Tesco. Summer splendour! Richly textured with a cascade of exotic fruit, this is a fantastic white for the first barbecue of the year.

LB7 Red 2017 (13.5%) £7.99 mix six Majestic. Black cherries and blackcurrants romping in a summery festival of flavour. Great value red that’s great fun to drink.

Fizzy & Fresh Italian Sparkling £6 (11%) M&S. Light fizzy frothy fun. This great value sparkler is a missile of marvellousness!

Bagordi Blanco 2019 (13%) £9.20 Tanners. Apple attack! This is so pristine, fresh and invigorating that I could happily drink it all summer long. Full of flavour with delightful purity.

Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Gaillac Rouge 2018 (12.5%) £7 on offer until 26th May. Silky sleek red with a tickle of aromatic spice. Light enough to chill and a brilliant red to keep cool in the sunshine.

I’ve also tasted some cracking wines this week from indie merchant Jascots who usually only supply restaurants and bars. They’ve opened up their delivery service to everyone at home during lockdown and plan to keep their prices at trade levels (a bargain to you and I) to say thanks for supporting them at this time. You can find them at jascots.co.uk and here are my top picks for treats:

Vieira de Sousa Reserva 2017 (14%) £15.90
With buttery beauty, gorse-flower flourishes  and a touch of baked pineapple, this Portuguese winner is fulsome and fabulous, rich and tangy, and one to pour as a mighty mood lifter.

Alice Vieira de Sousa Tinto Reserva 2018, Douro 14% £10.24
Perfect for a Sunday roast and quite a steal for the price, this supple Douro red has a brilliant black cherry niff and tastes of a summery Portuguese spice cavern. Or what I imagine one would hold…. scented layers from clove to fennel. Lockdown loveliness.

Múzsa Kardarka 2018 (13%) £12.61
You can’t go wrong with this summery red fruit blast. I adored it served chilled and will also be recommending it in the Mail on Sunday so get in quick. With an exotic ripple, this is one for grilled veg and smokey spare ribs.

Aglaea Nerello Mascalese 2018 Terre Siciliane (13.5%) £13.88
This is excellent wine and at the price should be in everyone’s online basket for a proper treat.  Black fruit in abundance and complex layers of intrigue from balsamic notes to rosehip. Class, polish, character here – throw a sausage into the mix and you’re set for a fine feast.


Meanwhile, at Smith Towers we’ve been having fun with some foodie themes to jazz things up a bit  - we had a very successful Greek night last week with home made gyros and lightly chilled Xinomavro conjuring Greek holidays past…. And every Friday night is pizza night which just gets better and better with music as well as vino pairing the grub.  Find my recommendations for what to drink with pizzas in my latest column for EVENT.


And this Friday 22nd May why not reach for a bottle of South African wine to celebrate the South African wine industry who are having a turbulent time at the moment. If you're online, share what you’re drinking on social media by using the hashtag #SpectacularSouthAfrica to show your support. I’ll be opening a bottle of the fantastically named Baboon Rock Unwooded Chardonnay from Tanners. It’s SPECTACULAR for under a tenner, white peach meets white rose, so delicious Mrs S had to prize it from my hand on first sip. It feels like so much sunshine and generosity is somehow packed into every sip and I highly recommend it. It will for sure be cropping up in my Mail on Sunday column so I’d warmly recommend getting in there early and ordering a case.


I had a wonderful trip out into the woods on a sunny evening last week in search of the song of the nightingale and to celebrate my favourite poet John Clare, and filmed it for my latest Isolation Diary for Mail+.  You can see my adventure here


Thanks for all your lovely comments about this week’s Saturday Kitchen. It was a blast with Marcus Wareing and Matt in the studio and Susan Calman on the screen next to me! If you missed it, you can catch up here.


Finally, if you want some amusement, the excellent publication The Chap is publishing more online and you can read the features I have written for them including an article on English fizz and a visit to Breaky Bottom, and my homage to whisky

Have a great week, keep safe and keep in touch.

Olly x

Twitter @jollyolly
Instagram @ollysmith


  Olly Smith