|Pamela Vandyke Price|
Last week, a lady called Pamela Vandyke Price died, aged 90. The reason I know this is because she was a rather famous name in the wine world. In fact, she was one of our first female wine writers, with a column in The Times back in the 1970s and with a string of wine books to her name. Pamela didn't plan to become a wine writer but after her husband died after just five years of marriage, a friend asked her to accompany him on a wine business trip to Bordeaux. And that was that. I met her on a few occasions back when I was a supermarket wine buyer, at big wine tastings. She had a sharp mind and a sharp tongue; utterly terrifying, but you could not help but admire her. “The thing I don’t want wine to be is difficult, complicated or specialised,” she once said. Here's to you, Pamela.
Current white in the fridge: Tesco Finest Limoux Chardonnay 2011, £8.99, Tesco
Okay, so if you are in the mood for a quiet little white with fresh lemony flavours, this isn't it. Here, you've got oaky, creamy peaches in a glass. Limoux is a region in southern France and the Chardonnay grapes get lots of sun. The resulting wine has big fruit flavours and because it is aged in oak barrels, there's a definite pencil shaving thing going on too. I'm also putting cream soda on the list. Together, it works brilliantly. And that's the clever thing about Chardonnay: I love that one grape can taste so very different depending on where you plant it and what the winemaker does with it. Definitely needs food, even if it's the children's left over fish pie.
Current red in the rack: Waitrose Chilean Carmenere Reserva, £5.99 on offer, Waitrose
At this time of year I want my reds to have some grrrrip about them. Step forward this mostly Carmenere (with some Cabernet Sauvignon too). Carmenere hails from Bordeaux but is rather out of fashion there. Luckily, Chile wears it well too. Normally a few quid more a bottle, so at under £6 it is properly good value for money. There's a bramble fruit quality to it, along with a sprinkling of spice. If you like Argentinian Malbec, give this a try. It's grrrrreat.
ps. If you haven't seen this video showing how to open a bottle if wine with a shoe, then you must. I will be trying the same with a kitten heel at the weekend.