Joe Wadsack

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It never rains but it pours. Cheval Blanc pt. 2

Wandering aimlessly through the streets of London thinking over and over about that beautiful glamorous woman. Oh how she seduced me, then left me feeling empty. Forgotten. Is it even worth tasting wine that good, if you think that was as good as it was ever going to get? I high that high is bound to be followed by a drop. 

The very next week, after the annual New Zealand wine tasting at Lords (Nautilus Brut. How good?) I quickly squeezed into a press tasting by my good friend Richard Dudley Craig, a man who, when it comes to food and wine, knows where his towel is (RIP Douglas Adams. x)

Richard as done pretty much every job in the restaurant biz, from chefing in Michelin starred kitchens, to serving wine to writing about it.


He had invited me to dinner at the Gavroche with some ‘pretty sprauntzy wines’ to use his words. What kind of idiot double-books dinner at the Gavroche? I went to taste vermouth instead. (See previous post about Mele e Pere.) 

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Punching above my weight. Cheval Blanc Pt. 1

There are some wines, I imagine, even the most well-connected journalists and wine writers hanker to try. This is no doubt true, even for the likes of Neal Martin, and Tim Atkin MW.

We watch them tweeting and writing about the celestial great and the good at some of the most extraordinary wine events, restaurants, even countries. But I bet there are wines that even Neal wishes he knew better.

For us mere mortals, our lists are long. For me? Never tasted Lafite. Never had Haut Brion (Actually twice. Blind. Once with a cold in a job interview.) Never had a glass of Margaux, and don’t even get me started on Domaine de la Romanée-Conti… I mean who cares anyway, huh? (I do…)

Also, we become increasingly well aware that in this day and age, we are exponentially less likely to ever see them. You have to suck in hard and let it go. It’s as hard as letting go of that one love of your life, that didn’t love you back. A part of you thinks, “I could have made an honest wine of her. I could. She’ll regret it one day. I would have been the best taster she ever had.” But you just have to let go.

Then you lower your standards. At the risk of getting hurt again, you go to one Australian and Chilean wine tasting after another (although I’m told that there are a few sirens there too. Oh wherefore art thou, Wendouree?)

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Mele e Pere. The Not So Bitter Truth.

Martin Luther King onced proclaimed,” Never succomb to the temptation of bitterness.”

And here was me, thinking that Campari was quite zeitgeisty in sixties America, if Madmen is anything to go by.

I love bitterness, and most of my close friends love bitterness too. Let’s be honest. As we get older, bitterness becomes the new sweet.

I wonder, increasingly, if there is a correlation between enjoying bitter drinks and harboring bitterness and regret as one advances through life’s rich pageant. Take two examples.

1) Old men in Yorkshire near Masham.

2) Me.

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Three Wines Go Cheap

You spend months tasting wines, without finding a bargain, then three come along at once.

Like buses.

I have been trying to find a bargain basement wine to recommend for a little while now and it’s been a fairly fruitless exercise (pardon the pun). I suppose in my advancing years, I have been reluctant to accept that the wine ‘sweet spot’ these days is closer to £10 than £5 before, and that I expect someone will appear with a £2.99 Côtes de Thongue that’s going to hit the spot.

Well. OK. Obviously those days are gone.

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“Harpers Editor eats World’s Best Breakfast.”

Prior to heading off on a field campaign to corner all the West of England drinks scoops in one day, with Angela Mount, Madeleine Waters, Bryony Wright, and a guy called Matthew Clark, apparently, Richard Siddle sat down to Joe Wadsack’s now famous, Mount Lofty Bacon and Caper stack.

“I didn’t want it to end chief. It’s the nicest thing I’ve ever eaten.” said experienced breakfast-eating Scouser.

Royal Mail! Special Delivery!

A quick one. I have just answered the front door to a postman, holding a plastic bag full of dirty liquid, powdered green glass and wet cardboard. It was addressed to me.

I was rather perplexed to why someone would send me something that looked like a glass Mojito.

On further inspection of the package, I discovered a sender address, a silver Special Delivery sticker, and something scrawled on the zip-lok bag in which the contents of the original package were placed.

The writing said,”Received in broken condition.” I rather doubt it. Certainly not in this condition.

It was sent by my good pal Ulrich Hoffman, fellow IWC judge and winemaker at Burgess Hill in Kent. Those of you who have met him, will know that he is far from stupid and he is German. Parcels always arrive as if packaged and built at an Audi factory. I don’t imagine he lobbed the bottle at the post office screen, then paid £15 to deliver it. Anyway, do you know how hard it is to actually break a sparkling wine bottle these days. I mean they bounce of ships’ hulls, for christ sake!

Now let’s finish on the Special Delivery label shall we? What, exactly, does Special Delivery mean? It appears that it means that if a parcel survives the usual gauntlet of the Royal Mail distribution system, one should drink the contents to celebrate. If not, one can then claim back on the contents insurance, and have it delivered by a proper fucking courier.

I’m glad Uli didn’t send it by regular post. I imagine they would have rung the doorbell then shot it through the letterbox with a cannon.

Krug - Institute of Happiness. The Epilogue


So. A few weeks on, from one of the most decadent evenings I’ve ever had the pleasure of being invited to. What was it like? Glad you asked…

What I am asking myself is what was it for? Why was it staged? If it was to create an indelible memory of the Krug brand about which I shall be talking for years to come, well, bravo. That is certainly the true. Then again, Krug has such extraordinary brand swagger already, isn’t it more the fact that if it turned out not to be bling enough, then there was more risk of doing harm to this celestial credibility? I imagine that this is the case for every event involving hyper brands like this. Surely it’s up there with Piaget watches, Bentley cars, John Lobb shoes and Riva boats? (Yes. One of each please.)

Was it a success? I don’t know. I imagine it was, but I am still trying to put my finger on what exactly the point of this ‘pop-up’ was. (Yuk. Horrid expression.) Let me explain what happened first, what we ate, drank, and how it went down. Warning. This bit is likely to sound a bit sucky and gloaty. Hell, if I can’t gloat now, I don’t know when I ever will.

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Krug Night - The Prologue


I’ve never been this excited about a dinner. Ever. The invitation is like a Wonka Golden Ticket…

I don’t know what to expect. At all. 

Krug have partnered with wunderkind Nuño Mendes to create the ultimate feel-good dinner. It’s ridiculously exclusive too. So exclusive, that I nearly turned it down because I literally have nothing to wear…

If you think a pop-up restaurant at the internationally swanky 85 Swaines Lane that is only open for four days, and has only 16 seats (at £440 a pair) isn’t swanky enough, look at the questionnaire that they sent me…

(For comedy value, I have included my answers as I wrote them.)

1. What was your favourite game or toy when you were growing up?

Atari 2600 console. Tanks was my favourite game.

2. What piece of music makes you feel most happy?

Fascination by Alphabeat. (That’s not for the public domaine. A bit gay.) or Let’s get it on by Marvin Gaye.

3. Do you prefer the smell of freshly baked bread or thick melted chocolate?

Ooh very close call. Freshly baked sourdough would have it. Just. 

4. What is your favourite sweet?

Lemon sherbets, rhubarb and custards, that sort of thing. I love sherbet and citrus.

5. What film do you always watch whenever you need cheering up?

Withnail and I. (This always my answer to a question about film.)

6. What flower evokes  joy?


7. What colour evokes excitement?


8. What or who really gives you the giggles?

Jim Jeffries, the comic, or little children falling over in puddles. 

This is apparently to tailor-make the experience for each diner. I really have no idea how they are going to use this extremely private information about myself, but I imagine that I might be sat next to Elton John.

Part 2 of this post tomorrow. Wish me luck. Or tell me to fuck off. I guess I deserve it. 

But you’re not going. I am.

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