Ok, so I’m jumping on the band wagon, and perhaps I’m a little late to the party but hey, I’ve turned up and I’ve brought a bottle, and a book (for more on the book bit see below, the bottle is mine).

Often in novels one of the characters reaches for a glass of wine, or knocks over a bottle of Claret, or shows off their wine knowledge by referring to a well-known Bordeaux Château. For some reason this really annoys me, it’s like referring to a Renoir or a Picasso when talking of art – an obvious big name which in fact says nothing about your knowledge of the subject. There are so many ‘label drinkers’ out there. You know the type, you’ve sat beside them, the people who will sit next you at dinner and reel off all the amazing (expensive, critically acclaimed) wines they’ve drunk. It’s just a little boring. Although I don’t know a huge amount about wine compared to most who work in the trade I work beside someone who does, I’ve learnt a lot and I’m continuing to learn. I know when I like a wine and when I don’t, and according to the critics I’m not always ‘right’. But I do know that it’s almost impossible to say “I don’t like Merlot” and “I love Syrah” or “I can’t stand Chardonnay”. This is a bit like saying “I love chicken” when you don’t like curried chicken or won’t touch chicken nuggets. Or “I love denim” when you really mean you love your favourite jeans and not the patchwork denim flares you wore as a child in the 70s (ok maybe that was just me).

A certain Mr Grey may like certain leather products but that doesn’t mean he’ll be donning a pair of leather cowboy boots in the next chapter. It’s what is made out of the raw material, be it leather or grape that you will like or not – and how good the end result is will depend on the person who is creating that product.

Equally you can’t, like a certain Mr Grey, order a Pouilly-Fumé and know that it will always be good – Pouilly-Fumé is an AOC in the Loire Valley (AOC: Appellation d’Origine Controllée – a designated area, only wines grown inside the limits can put Pouilly-Fumé on the label) and unfortunately, as with Sancerre, Châteauneuf du Pape, Chablis, St Emilion etc., there is no way you can guarantee that all the producers in the region will make good wine. So, and at the risk or repeating myself, be a nerd and make a note or take a photo of the label of the next wine you like, then why not try something else from the same producer rather than something else made in the same region or from the same grape.

So, back to That Book. Yes I have read it. Yes I thought it was crap. I can mention so many other well-written books of the same genre. Well, I could possibly mention one, or at a stretch two, you know, that I’ve read reviews of. Anyway, I have a copy on the desk beside me. The blurb on the back says “this is a novel that will… stay with you forever” well, I’m getting rid of my copy, so that part is definitely not true and I will post it to one (un)lucky person, in a brown paper parcel.

Let me know, via twitter, facebook or if you’re very shy, email (wine@thewinestore.ie), the name of the producer of the Pouilly-Fumé we stock (big hint, right here) as well as why you’d like the copy of the book. I’ll pull a name out the hat by lunchtime tomorrow, which just happens to be Friday 13th – could be lucky for you.