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Booze of the Day: Veuve Clicquot

Back on the fizz tonight. We turned up an ancient bottle of Veuve Clicquot what B here was given for a long-ago birthday. Some sites will tell you not to hold champagne for more than six months or a year; a woman at a local winery told us you can hold non-vintage champagne for several years and it will improve (and vintage even longer). This stuff? Not vintage and could be as old as a decade. No way to know. But Veuve Clicquot is a decent brand, so we had to give it a sample.

Nicole-Barbe Ponsardin married François Clicquot (dabbler in champagne, banking and wool) in 1798, but he died seven years later, leaving her in control of the company. “Veuve” means “widow.” She guided everything toward champagne production. In fact, the factory production methods she pioneered went a long way toward establishing champagne as the preferred tipple of European royalty.

Today, it’s…top end of average. Just below vintage. In the £30 range.

This bottle? A little worse for wear. A little flat. A little dark. Eminenly drinkable. I give it

  three and a half drunken weasels, even past its best.

At the Wikipedia article on Veuve Clicquot, I found this neat picture of the various sizes of champagne bottle, which I nicked and captioned. For your boozing edification:


May 22, 2007 — 6:10 pm
Comments: 4

Shapsnots: The Alfriston Knob

They describe this object as a market cross but, really, who are they kidding?

A truck driver jumped the curb and shattered it in the…Fifties, I think. They pasted it back together again. So it’s the Shattered Knob of Alfriston, even.

Alfriston is an ancient and beautiful little town. Very old, very unspoiled. Morning Has Broken, Cat Stevens’ signature tune, is a hymn written in the Thirties by Eleanor Farjeon, supposedly about the beauties of Alfriston.

— 4:01 pm
Comments: 9

Beer of the Day: Adnam’s Broadside

Beer: Broadside Strong Original
Brewery: Adnams
Alcohol: 6.3%
Pros: 6.3%!!!
Cons: Hippies.

I confess. It was the alcohol content that caught my eye on this one. But it was a nice dark red color, so it went in the basket.

Adnam’s brewery is in Southwold, a little fishing village up the coast from London. Well, it was a little fishing village. Now it’s a little yuppie village, I gather. The first record of brewing at the Swan Inn dates to 1345, when Johanna de Corby was fined for selling beer in unmarked measures (weights and measures legislation in the UK goes back kzillions of years; she was probably selling unmarked buckets o’ beer).

The whole town burned to the ground in 1659 and the Swan was rebuilt the following year. So it’s kind of the New Swan. The brewery is still in the yard behind.

A Google search for Adnam’s turns up their site with the phantom description: “A traditional brewer of classic English beer, with a very modern web site, with more style than substance (the beers have both).” That odd sentence must have been from an early “holding” page before the site went live. Bad idea.

The actual web site is worse. It’s a great smelly load of hippie marketing bollocks. Like, the Our Values page, which shows a row of pebbles with words like “sustainability” and “diversity” and “community” embossed on them, and you click the pebbles to learn that “we want fulfilled customers and employees, whose lives are enriched by their involvement with Adnams” and “we aim to manage our impact positively on the social, natural, and built environment.” The built environment. That’s a new one.

Then there’s their Too Much of a Good Thing campaign.

Confident that great beers and distinctive wines enhance the quality of life, we are determined to promote their sale in responsible ways. Our aim is to encourage more people to drink Adnams, not for individuals to drink more – and all our marketing is consistent with that approach.

During the past year we have also worked closely with local organisations and young people to produce informative ‘alco-cards’ and an educational video (partly financed by a grant from Arts & Business), undertaken widespread staff training, held discussions with our pub tenants and the police, produced clear and informative leaflets and devised a subtle variant on our ‘Beer from the Coast’ campaign.

Further work is in hand to improve the clarity of information on the back labels of our beers and wines. All of which is brought together with a simple strapline – ‘Remember, you can have too much of a good thing’.

Informative alco-cards. Sweet Jesus, I need a drink.

The beer? Oh. Strong, very bitter. I liked it. I don’t know why I keep buying a beverage called “bitters” and reacting with shock, “hey, this stuff is bitter!” I would have given it three and a half drunken weasels, but I took half a drunken weasel away because…you know. Hippies.


  three drunken weasels.

— 7:49 am
Comments: 10