March 6, 2013

I have reproduced this article from The Times for your benefit.  I can’t wait to read the book by Helen McGinn. In the meantime I find Kate Spicer’s descriptions of certain categories of wine drinker disconcertingly realistic.  I think I know what I am, what I hope I am not and probably what others think I am!!! Enjoy!

Published in The Times, 5 Feb 2014

A new wine guide targets exhausted mothers who reach for the bottle indiscriminately. Kate Spicer has her own advice

In recent years, women have risen in the wine trade, taking control of dynastic vineyards and replacing imperious male sommeliers. But the biggest rise in the business is the number of women buying it: they now account for about 80 per cent of supermarket wine purchases.

Wine is the female palliative medicine of choice, and a former supermarket wine buyer, Helen McGinn, has written a book dedicated to women wine guzzlers. The Knackered Mother’s Wine Club is written in a style that eschews arcane tasting notes and technical discussions about “terroir” in favour of banter about bubble baths and eating chocolate.

Women are drinking more plonk than ever but, McGinn reckons, they are undiscerning consumers who stick to safe, if bland, wines. They also delude themselves that red wine is “healthy” and are in denial about what constitutes a unit. So is it time to adjust the quantity and quality of what you consume, and what kind of wine drinker are you?

Deluded workaholic wind-down “I just have the one glass,” is admirably healthy if it’s 125ml of a light French red. It is less refined in a goldfish bowl big enough for half a bottle of a New World monster. Combining the worker bee’s favourite stress hormone, cortisol, with a thumping shiraz is similar to being whacked on the head with a rubber fist.

What she drinks: £8 New World shiraz with a 15 per cent ABV.

What she should drink: A pricier Old World syrah. In a much smaller glass.

Bathtub barfly Always home for bathtime, no matter how awful the day, “grown-up time” only starts for her once the kids are in bed. Increasingly, though, that decent Côtes du Rhône is being started on early. The bathtub has become a bar-top.

What she drinks: A good red reserved for dinner.

What she should drink: An inky cahors, with tannins that don’t cut it without a canapé. And no one has yet learnt to juggle baby, toddler, wine glass and an M&S salmon pinwheel.

Sun’s-over-the-yardarm traditionalist Hubby serves her at six. It would be unladylike to help herself, but she has developed a Pavlovian response to the sound of the fridge door. Like the dogs, she starts “worrying” around five-ish.

What she drinks: Oaky chardonnays with pretty, squiggly French labels.

What she should drink: A smoky vidiano from Crete would shake her up.

Drunkorexic Fearful of empty calories, she eats like a mouse by day so that she can drink like a fish at night. The consequences of this include horrible skin, a messy type of drunkenness, nasty acidic burps and, worst of all, self-defeating binges on bowls of curly fries and buckets of pinot grigio with friends after work.

What she drinks: Pub sauvignon blanc, or in the summer, slightly too sweet rosé.

What she should drink: A superlight refreshing white, such as a Portuguese vinho verde or a Basque txakoli.

Social networking drinker She drinks while tweeting during Question Time, because it’s jolly, although she has had to delete some indiscreet comments in the morning. Still, she’s part of a virtual gang. Is drinking while on Twitter or Facebook an exception to the drinking alone rule?

What she drinks: Glass after glass of merlot meant to go with stew.

What she should drink: A half bottle of Moscato d’Asti can’t hurt, can it?

Bon vivant-aholic: She knows all the food trends, can chat with sommeliers about “good years” and the natural wine movement. Her friends find her wine choices weird, and are unimpressed by her bragging about 1919 Dom Pérignon. She has a specific wine for every occasion; even hangovers (chef Fergus Henderson’s favourite cure, Fernet Branca).

What she drinks: You haven’t heard of it.

What she should drink:  A natural wine. Pinot grigio that looks and tastes like horse pee should shut her up.


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