Raise a mug to the common drinker’s guide to plonk. Hic!

  • Charles Jennings and Paul Keers discuss wine drinking in their new book
  • Both writers have previously blogged about ‘real-life wine drinking’
  • From wine shops, corkscrews to ordering deliveries the book brings on a thirst


by Charles Jennings and Paul Keers (Metro £8.99)  

A few years ago the novelist Paul Theroux was asked how he chose to relax. His answer was simple: ‘Book, chair, wine.’ I have never forgotten this because, by extraordinary coincidence, it’s pretty much how I choose to relax as well.

Red wine is my friend; this Christmas I’ve drunk enough to float a small dinghy, which makes me the perfect reader for this glorious little book, subtitled The Joys (Or Not) Of Drinking Wine.

The authors are gnarled old journos, whose brilliant idea, a few years ago, was to start a blog entitled Sediment, about ‘real-life wine drinking’. No strings of high-flown adjectives here, just pithy, often hilarious essays about the guzzling, gargling and glugging most of us do before we pass out at the end of the evening.

Cheers: Comedy duo Laurel and Hardy (pictured left to right) raise a glass

Keers and Jennings have different personalities and contrasting styles, and play up to each to the max. Keers is a style journalist who launched British GQ in the Eighties. He and his wife are wont to decant a bottle if they hate the label design.

When he encounters the term ‘easy drinking’, steam comes out of his ears. ‘When is drinking not easy, for goodness sake? It’s a reflex action! If you’re finding wine is “difficult” drinking, you don’t need a wine critic, you need a doctor.’

Jennings, by contrast, is Mr Bargain Basement, who hates paying more than £5.99 for a bottle, and suffers accordingly. Time and again he sees a bargain in Lidl for £3, buys a couple of bottles in forlorn hope and finds it’s not nice at all.

‘Loads of tannins and acidity, chesty cough/hint of groin strain, notes of old newspaper, dust, socks, are the main impressions.’ I’ve waited my whole life to see a wine described thus.

I'VE BOUGHT IT, SO I'LL DRINK IT by Charles Jennings and Paul Keers (Metro £8.99)

I’VE BOUGHT IT, SO I’LL DRINK IT by Charles Jennings and Paul Keers (Metro £8.99)

Between them, this intrepid pair consider every aspect of wine drinking you could think of. They discuss corkscrews, glasses and wineboxes and browse for hours in posh wine shops before ordering deliveries from Majestic, each timing it so he knows his wife will be out at the time. One chapter is entitled Drinking From A Mug.

And somehow, miraculously, the quality rarely flags. This, of course, is the columnist’s art, but you’ll rarely see it better executed than here.

So here’s Charles Jennings considering something he’s read in a book of Kingsley Amis’s: Queen Victoria’s tipple, which is half a tumbler of red wine plus Scotch. Why not give it a go? He throws some New Zealand pinot noir in a tumbler, tops it up with Tesco’s Finest Scotch whisky and takes a swig. ‘Deadly mistake. It has a taste somewhere between thin gravy, treacle and a three-day-old bonfire, with a chesty punch like being hit in the sternum with a bag of sand . . . two sips later I am numb enough to have surgery.’

It made me laugh so loud I almost coughed up my rioja. That’s the problem with this book: it does bring on an absolutely appalling thirst …


Read more at DailyMail.co.uk