The Wine Explorer
109 pages

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109 pages

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A unique book that gives a very personal account of the adventures that befall a wine merchant and after dinner speaker in pursuit of the finest wines and extraordinary stories from vineyards off the beaten track.

Graham Mitchell takes a look behind the labels to uncork the mysteries of wine, he will take you on a tour of vineyards from France, Argentina, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. This is a journey of discovery, learning the characteristics, history, geological factors behind that bottle of wine on your kitchen table. He explains the varieties and differences of the wine produced and the people who run the vineyards some of whom are larger than life characters.

Full of entertaining information this intoxicating blend of humour, experience, anecdote and authority.

Foreword by Henry Blofeld: "Graham is a top-end expert at it all. He gives us the flavour of the wine and, just as important, the flavour of the country. "



Publié par
Date de parution 15 juin 2020
Nombre de lectures 3
EAN13 9781789559361
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0350€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Graham Mitchell
The University of Buckingham Press
First published in Great Britain in 2013 by
The University of Buckingham Press
51 Gower Street
London WC1E 6HJ
Reprinted with corrections in 2020
The University of Buckingham Press, 2013, 2020
The moral right of the author has been asserted.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored or introduced into a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the publisher nor may be circulated in any form of binding or cover other than the one in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.
CIP catalogue record for this book is available at the British Library
ISBN 9781789559361
For Nicola, Ned, Harry, Ella and Bea, with all my love.
The Author
Graham is to wine what Michael Palin is to travel a sort of Indiana Jones with a corkscrew.
Graham Mitchell has been buying and selling wine for twenty years as a professional wine merchant. Known as the Wine Explorer , he noses his way around vineyards off the beaten track. He travels the world searching for the best wines, those with attitude and soul.
Graham is the fourth generation in his family to toil in wine. His great-grandfather, Sir Alfred Bower, established Bower and Company, wine merchants in the City of London in 1879, so you could say that wine is in his blood!
A Director of El Vino Company for six years, Graham subsequently followed his great grandfather s example and set up his own wine business. His wit and passion for wine led to a wine slot on BBC radio for eight years and much lecturing and writing about wine in the press. He has written for the Telegraph has regularly selected the Wine Explorer s wines for the Spectator magazine. He also has a reputation as one of the better after-dinner speakers in the UK, blending information with humour and thus leading his audience on an entertaining journey through the vineyards of the world.
He started his career packing cases in the cellar at Berry Bros and Rudd. In 1983 he spent six back-breaking weeks picking grapes at Ch teau Angludet in Bordeaux. He has also worked in the Mosel Valley in Germany, analysing the chemical constituents of wine. He has travelled widely the vineyards of the world, including buying visits to France, Germany, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Argentina, Chile, California, British Columbia and South Africa.
Graham lives with his wife Nicola, four children, Ned, Harry, Ella and Bea, and Clemmie the dog in, er, tranquil Warwickshire.
The Wine Explorer - in a glass of his own
And if you really want to get behind the label:

My thanks must firstly go to my father for introducing me to wine and for his encouragement and initial grounding in this fascinating world.
Thank you to Henry Blofeld for his well-chosen and, as ever, cultured words in the Foreword.
I am delighted to include pen-and-ink drawings by my late mother Pamela and my niece Lizzie Fane, for which I am mightily grateful. I also want to thank Andy Hayward, who badgered me to write this book and whose advice was invaluable. Errors and omissions are all mine, as are all the opinions.
Thank you to Christopher Woodhead and James Wickham, the publishers of the first edition, for showing such faith in me and having the imagination to see the potential of this book.
Foreword by Henry Blofeld
I think I am probably in almost anyone s first eleven for my enjoyment of wine, but when it comes to the question of knowledge about what I am drinking and where it comes from, I am well at the back of the alsorans. Graham Mitchell s charming book, taking us around the world of wine and bringing it delightfully to life through his own personal adventures, will, I hope, allow me to climb a place or two in this particular batting order.
Graham and I both have a great love of wine, but there the similarities end. He is a top-end expert at it all; I am a low-end slurper. Having read his book, I shall now do all I can to stagger round as many of the exciting wine-producing parts of the world he has told us all about - and with his book ready at hand. He gives us the flavour of the wine and, just as important, the flavour of the country, which makes it all more fun and rounds off the story so well.
We lurch in taxis driven by Miguel, on journeys with a gaucho called Jesus; we eat flame-grilled beef in the Pampas; we climb Mount Kilimanjaro (and a pyramid or two, but in a non-vinous part of the world). We eat at the brilliant Reubens restaurant in Franschhoek - I have done this too, and can vouch for it; we learn that baboons and Cape cobras have a discouraging effect on the process of growing grapes; and so much more besides. I laughed aloud.
All the major grape varieties are present in their most mouthwatering forms, and most of the serious wine-producing parts of the world. We even have an amusing, but perhaps superfluous, chapter on whether or not wine is good for you and what should be a suitable daily intake. I would have thought this is not a subject that winemakers or wine merchants would normally be wise to tackle. But Graham skates through it beautifully, reminding us that more than three hundred doctors have become winemakers. And that the best definition of an alcoholic is well, I ll leave you to find out the answer to that one.
It is a splendid book, which will, I fear, lead me in only one direction, and that is not towards abstinence. Great value, great fun, highly instructive and informative, deliciously amusing and written with a refreshing innocence and none of the pompous or patronising diktats to be found in many wine books. I can think of nothing that I would like to receive more as a Christmas present. Well done Graham, take a bow.
Henry Blofeld
Exploring Behind the Label
Vineyard Discoveries
New Zealand
Cellar Discoveries
South Africa
Navigating a Restaurant Wine List
To Your Good Health
The Marriage of Food and Wine
Wine to Drink with Dinner
Bin Ends
Appendix 1: Food and Wine: Starters
Appendix 2: Food and Wine: Main Courses

There was this wonderful view set in a blameless blue sky we were chatting about cricket, the wine was twinkling in my glass and I just thought I d died and gone to heaven. Sir Trevor McDonald
Like Cyrano de Bergerac, my nose normally arrives at a vineyard about fifteen minutes before the rest of me. I am an explorer, and a wine explorer needs a good nose to sniff out the best and most exquisitely crafted wines in the world. That s my job: I buy and sell wine for a living. It would appear, however, that my job description isn t understood by everyone. I was rather taken aback when a few years ago I arrived at my 11-year-old son Harry s school to be met by one of his teachers who said, Ah, Mr Mitchell, I gather from your son that you re a drug dealer - how s business?
I d like you to follow my adventures so I can reveal the inside track to you, the intriguing world behind the labels, so that you can accompany me on a light-hearted journey through the most interesting vineyards on earth. I want to share some remarkable stories, copious humorous anecdotes and uncork some of my discoveries with you.
There is something rather beguiling about the juice of the vine which attracts perfectly sane people into this hazardous and impecunious industry. It s hard work, often physically demanding, with limited return, but there is also an enchantment, excitement and enduring appeal which makes it all worthwhile most of the time. A miraculous alchemy takes place when a bottle of wine is opened and shared. I suppose you could say that water divides the nations of the world, but wine unites them. It s not just that the vineyards seem to be located in some of the most naturally beautiful territories of the world, surrounded by outrageously fabulous restaurants, where local food and wine join together in a sumptuous embrace; it s something else, it s something intangible, dreamy and irresistible. One of my Bordeaux suppliers once remarked to me that he didn t really sell wine, he sold dreams.
I know what he means. Sometimes I am emailed by people who have visited one of the vineyards abroad which I represent in the UK. There was a couple who were married at a vineyard called the Red Hill Estate on the magical Mornington Peninsula, south of Melbourne in Australia; memories and daydreams of that special occasion could be revisited by opening a bottle from that same vineyard, possibly from the same vintage as their visit, and whilst drinking they could feed on the memories evoked in vino veritas . There is a truth in the beauty of an experience, if Keats will forgive me for saying so.
Sometimes wine can enable us to remember and relive that experience and dream that dream again. I remember a few years ago I visited the Napa Valley with my wife. We took Ned, our eldest son, who was six months old at the time, around the wineries in a backpack before leaving to spend a couple of days in Yosemite National Park. The last vineyard we visited was called Frog s Leap, and I spent two hours being shown around and tasting the wines from this organic winery in Napa. The wines are elegant and restrained - certainly more subtle than many of the wines from this region - but marketed brilliantly by the owner, Joh

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