The Friday 5 #50
Including pinot noir at under a tenner, the crispest ever bacon, why you should put vodka in your pasta sauce and how to make a restaurant work for you
Well what a week it’s been! The launch of Notes, Substack’s answer to Twitter, my first live wine tasting which was a LOT of fun. (Up to the point where my computer crashed. Fortunately after the scheduled hour was over …)
And my 50th Friday 5 which, as some of you new subscribers may not know, is my weekly round-up of food and wine tips which goes out to paid subscribers.
However as I’m feeling a bit celebratory this week and to welcome the literally hundreds of you who are new to my ‘Stack thanks to Notes (welcome, welcome!) you’re getting a couple of recs too.
I added a live tasting recently as one of my subscriber benefits, the idea being to hang out and chat about wine - more like sitting in a wine bar than a classroom.
Everyone was asked to bring along a bottle of pinot noir - the subject of the first session.
The two wines I brought along were both from The Wine Society (paid for by me) and designed to show how different pinot can be: a delicate, ethereal Moselle pinot noir, the 2021 Molozay Les Hautes Bassières from Chateau de Vaux which compares favourably with many burgundies that cost a good deal more and a sumptuously rich 2020 Felton Road Bannockburn Pinot Noir from New Zealand’s Central Otago region of which I see they’ve now sold out. (A bit reckless when I discovered what the price now is elsewhere but it was delicious. Chelsea Vintners still has a few bottles left at £33 at the time of writing)
New Zealand was in fact a popular choice for the evening even though the Escarpment, which had been on offer at £10, has now gone up to a cheeky £18.99 and I wouldn’t be inclined to buy it at that price. One of my clever subscribers, Judy, had found a Mud House Central Otago pinot noir on offer at Waitrose at £8.99 rather than the usual £11.99 which she said was really good value. (She knows her wine so I trust her!)
Pinot noir under £10 is as rare as hens’ teeth but it does exist. Aldi’s Specially Selected Australian pinot (£7.49) and Californian Pinot (£7.99) are both worth trying if you’ve got a branch near you. (If you find cheap pinot a bit too jammy pop it in the fridge for half an hour.)
If any US readers - or subscribers from other countries - have a favourite do share. I’m conscious that many of my new subscribers come from the States so will try and find more US stockists going forward.
Read on for the other 5 things I’m recommending this week. (If you want to take a peek behind the paywall you can currently take out a week’s trial!)