Thursday, 28 August 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 14 : The Molotov Cocktail

By Rupert Millar

Since David and Goliath, one side has usually been mismatched on the technology front, sometimes the problem is overcome and the enemy vanquished, sometimes not. The action film stars of the 1980s could make weapons out of whatever bits of prop were lying around and when push came to shove real soldiers did the same.

A Finnish soldier with
a Molotov Cocktail
The fortunes of an army in battle or even a nation in arms are dependent on several factors: discipline, training, morale and technology being chief among them.

In the early days of the First World War, soldiers designed their own hand grenades using glass jars and empty tin of bully beef, though these were usually as dangerous to their operators as they were to the enemy. The most famous makeshift weapon of them all though is the Molotov Cocktail.

The “poor man’s fire bomb” made an appearance during the Spanish Civil War when Franco’s Nationalists used them against Soviet supplied T-26 tanks in 1936. The Republicans, generally the most poorly equipped, were quick to adopt them too.

The most famous name now used to describe all manner of improvised fire bombs however first reared its flaming head in the Winter War of 1939 between Russia and Finland.

In 1939 the German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop and his Soviet counterpart, Vyacheslav Molotov concluded an unholy alliance in the form of Nazi-Soviet pact.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

News from the Cellars: Our latest tasting

The Wines of Australia and New Zealand - 27th August, 2014

Thank you for everyone who joined us for our latest monthly tasting, focusing this time on Australia and New Zealand.

We started with two light and fresh styles showing that these countries can offer good low alcohol wines, Yalumba Vermentino 2011, at only 11.5% and Invivo Bella Sauvignon Blanc 2012 at only 9% alcohol. Achieved through early harvest, picking at night and high altitudes it doesn't sacrifice any flavour for having lower alcohol and would work brilliantly as a great lunch time drink to enjoy with a salad.

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 13 : Divine Winds

By Rupart Millar

Samurai in action during the Sengoku period
Although not the heaviest of drinkers, the samurai of Japan were great lovers of sake and it was of central importance to key rituals in their warrior code.

It was drunk at all times from meals to religious ceremonies and was part of the Bushi-nin pre-battle ritual – the bushi being the more common Japanese term for the military caste of nobility better known to history as the samurai.

As battle neared a warrior would drink a cup of sake with his comrades and then seek either victory or honourable death in combat – a practice not dissimilar to drinking before battles in European armies although the cultural reasoning behind both were worlds apart.

To survive a defeat, or be taken prisoner, was to bring shame and humiliation on yourself and your family name. This code by which the samurai lived their life was called bushido, literally “Way of the Warrior”, a code not unlike Medieval European chivalry in that it stressed honour, loyalty and courage above all else.

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Top Italian Food and Wine Pairings

By Nikki Jarrett, Personal Wine Advisor

As one of the largest wine producers in the world with 3,000 years of heritage, 1,000 different grape varieties and 300 geographical wine locations, Italy is a wine country to be taken seriously. Italy stretches from 47 - 37 degrees latitude which results in various climates from the northern "continental" to the southern "Mediterranean". The mountains, together with the lakes and sea help temper the climate and the soils vary from volcanic to glacial. This of course, produces a wide variety of grapes and style of wines from the big beefy Amarones and the fruity Barberas in the north to the fragrant Grecos and Fianos of the south.

Food is also important to the Italians with many influences over history from the Greeks to the Arabs. The north and south of Italy have different styles, the north perhaps offering a simpler style to the south with its Mediterranean concoction. There is never a right and wrong with food and wine pairing but there are some that work better than others. Italy, as with many of the European wine producers, takes the style of the wine to complement the cuisine.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Averys Summer Sale is now on!

The Averys summer sale starts today and runs until the end of August. However, with limited availability on our top deals, we expect many wines to sell out in the first few days. As if that wasn’t incentive enough to get your skates on, we are also giving away a free bottle of Le Seianti Rosso Toscano with the first 500 orders.

FREE bottle of Tuscan red with the first 500 orders
All you have to do to enjoy your free bottle of Tuscan red is place an order for 12 bottles or more worth a minimum of £79.99. As long as you are one of the first 500 to order, you’ll receive your free bottle with the rest of your wines.

Le Seianti Rosso Toscano is a Sangiovese blend from one of our favourite Chianti producers. The Italians like to keep this one for themselves, so it’s not usually available in the UK. However, as we sell a large amount of their Le Seianti Chianti, they agreed to sell us this parcel. Normally £8.99 per bottle, it’s yours free while stocks last.