Thursday, 31 July 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 12 : Vineyards Under Attack

By Rupart Millar

We’re not just fighting for France – we’re fighting for Champagne” - Winston Churchill

Meissonier’s famous painting of Napoleon, on his last great campaign. 
This year is the 200th anniversary  of the desperate fighting retreat
There is a corner of Europe between the Vosges Mountains and the Channel/North Sea that is sometimes known as the “Fatal Avenue”. Running largely through northern France and the Low Countries it provides the flattest and easiest route for armies invading in or out of France and is probably one of the most blood-soaked and fought-over regions anywhere in the world let alone Europe.

Readers of this series so far will no doubt have been struck by the number of times northern France and the Low Countries have appeared in the narrative (and will yet again).

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 11 : The Germans

By Rupert Millar

“Preparations for the Kaiser’s birthday on the front.
Eagerly awaited beer from the homeland is unloaded.”
As every schoolboy knows, Germans subsist entirely on beer and sausages and its army in ages past was no exception.

Straightforward stereotype it may have been but it wasn’t entirely untrue – the French had a wine ration and the Germans had beer – and wine too of course - but the Prussian, Bavarian, Saxon, Westphalian and Hanoverian ländser who were so crucial to the German army were largely beer drinkers.

Recipes for beer soup and wine soup from 19th century German army field manuals still survive and may be of interest for curious cooks. As the lead image shows, the Germans were as diligent in supplying their troops with alcohol (such as for the Kaiser’s birthday) as the French and British and regiments would have their own decorative steins listing battle honours and past uniforms - they are highly collectable today.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Welcome to our new site!

You’ll see that we’ve given our mailings and website a fresh new look. We've decided to update a few features and designs to continue the evolution of Averys and drive us on for the next 200 years.

New look - new wines
Our buyers have been busy travelling the globe looking for new wines and these are just a few of our favourite recent discoveries. If the sunshine has re-ignited your love of rosé, you will be delighted to see two new additions to the range - Portuga Rosé and Urbina Rioja Rosé. Other new wines from Rioja include the flagship range of Bodegas Muriel - triple gold medal-winning Viña Muriel Reserva Rioja 2008, an astonishing £72 off the Marques de Solariego Reserva Rioja 2008 and a new white, Viña Muriel Reserva Rioja Blanco 2010.

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Wine and Warfare Part 10 : Rum and Blood

By Rupert Millar

New Zealanders in their distinctive “lemon squeezer”
hats receive their rum ration
If the French army had wine, the British, like their navy, had rum. Rum had largely replaced beer as the drink ration for the troops since the 18th century and it was as integral to the narrative of the army as the famous “shilling a day” which constituted a man’s pay.

The role of rum reached new heights during the bloody battles of the First World War in northern France and Flanders as Britain’s first conscript army came face to face with modern warfare.

Rum (indeed alcohol generally) served three main purposes in the war: firstly as a morale booster; secondly as coping mechanism and thirdly as what is known as a “combat motivator” and all three merged quite seamlessly into the other, their purposes over-lapping, as time progressed.