English Market update

Austin Brennan, manager of the Bubble Brothers shop in the English Market, gets a day off on Monday, and today I'm holding the fort in his absence.

It's always good to be in the Market anyway, because of all the sounds and smells and the people flowing round its alleys. And the smorgasbord of lunch options.

It's good, too, to see how people shop here, and how they fit the wine in to their other (window) shopping. Something about the market atmosphere encourages people to talk, which is great, so we get direct feedback about not just our own wines, but everyone else's - and all kinds of other subjects as well. And, after all, wine is more than the sum of its ingredients: it's about conversations and differences of opinion and the chain of people from the winemaker to the drinker.

This weekend's tasting notes from home, on the occasion of a family birthday, were a bottle of M&S mousseux from the south of France, which was just the thing to wash down the birthday jam sponge, and that' s all I can say about it because I was still glassy-eyed from eating a plate-sized steak at Fermoy's latest restaurant, The Poacher's Rest I think it is. Very good all round, bright and light, and they didn't mind rampaging children. Wine with the steak was Australian Fishcage Shiraz/Viognier: big and hearty with some savoury depths - spot on. If the burghers of Fermoy and environs make the place a success, I think we shall have to see about putting a few Bubble Brothers wines on the (already interesting) wine list.