Wine Kitten

Wow. I’ve got a lot to live up to after Jason’s last post. “[Gia] is brilliant, a gifted writer and a talented tv presenter.” Ah, shucks, Jason, you make me blush.

I’ve followed the whole Stormhoek online campaign since its inception. I’ve been to the Stormhoek-sponsored Geek Dinners in London, hung out with Hugh and Jason in Geneva, I was even one of the first group of bloggers who signed up to try Stormhoek out.


Basically, you could say that I’m a Stormhoek groupie.

So last week, when I was asked if I would be interested in writing for the Stormhoek blog, I jumped at the chance. Whether or not I deserve Jason’s gushing, one thing’s for sure, I’m definitely not a wine expert.

I can tell you everything you need to know about working in British television, but I don’t know the first thing about the wine industry. I can explain pretty much everything you need to know about nuclear power, but couldn’t tell you whether acidic or alkaline soil will produce a better wine. My day job on sci-fi film Sunshine has made me an expert on the science and mythology of the Sun, but I don’t have the first clue about what effect the weather has on grapes. I can talk about politics, religion, science, technology, philosophy until the cows come home, but I couldn’t even begin to describe the different tastes and aromas of a wine.

I do know that I don’t like Chardonnay, I could probably live on Cabernet and Mature Cheddar (though am prevented from doing so by the fact that I’d probably outgrow my wardrobe every few months), I once had a dessert wine from Chateau D’Yquem which I decided wasn’t a wine at all, but was, in fact, a bottled orgasm and I get a headache more often with red wine than white. But I don’t know why.

I also know that I tend to think the whole ‘wine thing’ seems far too pretentious for me to really get into. I don’t need to obsess over the minutiae of grape-growing or go through a laboured Sideways-like tasting routine to give me something to feel important about around lesser mortals. I, very simply, very unpretentiously, enjoy drinking good wine with friends over dinner.

Oh. And getting drunk. I like that, too.

When I think about all of my friends, I’d estimate that at least 90% of them drink wine… and probably only 5% actually know anything about wine. I think the vast majority of people who buy wine are actually confounded by the whole ‘wine thing’ – myself included. Choosing wine, when you know nothing about it, is filled with stress. It’s fine when you’re in a shop because there tends not to be a time pressure to the whole ordeal, but when you’re in a restaurant and you lose that little game of ‘Wine List Hot Potato’, it feels like the whole evening’s enjoyment rests entirely on your blind decision.

And did you know that every time you choose the wrong wine at a restaurant, a little kitten somewhere in the world ‘gets it’ in way far too horrific to detail here? It’s true, you know.


The best thing about writing the Stormhoek blog is that I am finally able to tap into the wealth of knowledge you readers have. I’m going to skip over things like ‘what are the best years for South African wines?’ or ‘what are the ideal conditions in which to store wine?’ or ‘decanting or aerating- discuss’ and get to the real things I want to know about:

1. What is a good wine to take to a dinner party when you don’t know what’s being served?
2. If you don’t know the names of wines or vineyards, how do you choose what to drink at a restaurant?
3. What if you don’t finish the whole bottle? Can you keep it until the next day without it turning into vinegar?
4. How do you get red wine stains out of carpet/clothing?
5. Does that funny sucking/slurping way of tasting wine actually improve the flavour or do you just like looking silly?

So, if anyone has any answers to any of those questions, please feel free to fill me in – especially the last one ‘cos I can’t help but laugh when I see someone doing that…

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