Fume BlancMatching Mondavi Fumé Blanc with a plate of battered haddock, hash browns, onion rings and some token peas proved a good choice – an evening filled with guzzling and munching followed. The glossy-green of Mondavi’s Sauvignon Blanc Fumé matched the treacle tones of the battered meal and awakened the signals from eye to stomach. A hard choice followed - drink or eat?


Drinking won. A lemon sherbet-dab tingle moved across my tongue, soon followed by a warming sensation as the 13.5% alcohol by volume moved downwards. The wine’s gala melon and buttery tastes didn’t overpower the creamy-haddock meal – both could be enjoyed and tasted to the full.


fishchipsMondavi’s £12.99 mellowness should prove pleasing to most people. But its price won’t. Two bottles of £5.99 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or a 3-litre box of Soave would give longer-lasting value, but not the buttery flavours developed by aging this Fumé ‘sur-lie’ in pricey oak barrels. The choice is yours – do you want to pay another fiver for a bit of oak aging?

For everyday drinking I opt for fresh and fruity cheap high-volume wines, the expensively-made mellow Mondavis are saved as end-of-week treats.

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rhubarbBolting rhubarb is not a good sign. The twenty year-old rhubarb patch in my neighbour’s allotment is showing all the evidence of being old and tired. Flower-heads are produced when a plant feels its life is threatened – a lack of water or nearing the end of its productive life are the most common reasons. But this is not a time to be down-hearted.

The hazelnut meringue came with embarrassed apologies. It was late and Michael, the chef at The Poolway House Hotel in Coleford, was reluctant to let such a cracked and crumbled meringue leave the kitchen.

wine dressIt might sound daft, but you can make a dress out of wine. If you fancy having a go you’ll need twelve bottles of cheap Australian red wine and patience. Two weeks and a vat of red wine vinegar later, you’ll have enough Mother of Vinegar ‘material’ to make a mini-dress.