Planet of the Grapes

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This article is from 2007.

Whether it’s toffs in Bordeaux or bums at King’s Cross, everyone loves a rich claret. To preview his corking new show, James Dowdeswell brings us the reasons why we should all be quaffing on wine

Every wine is individual A Big Mac or Starbucks tastes the same everywhere but wine has an infinite variety of tastes and smells. The range is absolutely phenomenal. You don’t have to spend a fortune. You can buy a good value Chilean red in your local supermarket. My current favourite is Cono Sur, Pinot Noir for £5.99. Try it; you might like it.

Wine is decadent and romantic When Johnny Depp was courting Kate Moss, it was rumoured he filled a hotel bathtub with expensive Champagne. While he popped down to reception to meet her, the maid waltzed into the room, dipped her hand in the bathtub, felt it was cold and drained the lot. I wonder what Pete Doherty would have filled a bathtub with?

Wine adds a touch of glamour to any situation After a gig with my friend Russell, we hopped into his infamous hot tub. Imagine that: two pale, pasty blokes in a paddock, lolling in a bathtub of tepid water. But, add a bottle of sparkling wine and bingo, we’re high-rolling players living the dream. The only thing missing was bikini-clad lay-deez. Perhaps they’d got lost, or maybe the dogs got them.

Wine improves with age The reason wine is made mostly from grapes and not any other fruit is because grapes keep longer. The late great Mitch Hedberg had a lovely line: ‘I saw a wino with a bunch of grapes. I said: “No dude, you have to wait”.’ I love the concept of laying down wine. It appeals to my natural sense of hoarding. There’s something magical about drinking a wine on your 18th birthday that’s the same age as you.

Cult films Sideways and Withnail & I
I defy you not to be thirsty after watching these two movies. Both contain classic lines. Miles, from Sideways, announces: ‘I’m not drinking the Merlot!’ then later downs an entire spittoon. Withnail has too numerous to mention. My favourite is yelled belligerently in a quaint patisserie: ‘I want the finest wines available to humanity. I want them here and I want them now!’

James Dowdeswell, Baby Belly, 0870 745 3083, 4–26 Aug (not 13), 7.05pm, £8.50–£9.50 (£7.50–£8.50). Previews 2 & 3 Aug, £5.

This article is from 2007.

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