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wine claims on label, which can cause no-one any harm and may be the source of mild amusement (‘This wine insists on being loved’; ‘This wine contains no condoms’), there are regular problems with misrepresentation and adulteration. Some years ago Austrian wines were found to contain quantities of anti-freeze liquid, designed for car radiators, to increase the alcohol level. Sichel, the Bordeaux négociant, was discovered to be passing off Algerian wines as genuine claret. More recently, the ubiquitous presence of sulphites and the continuing argument of screw-

The fact is that screwtops and sulphites mean there will be no unpleasant surprises in the contents — except for the possibility that you have chosen a duff wine tops versus cork has muddied the waters. Sulphites produce a clear liquid, free of lees and other possible impurities; screw-tops mean that a wine cannot be corked because of — well — the cork. But is the taste affected? The very impurities found in the wine but removed by sulphites and the tiny amount of oxidation permitted by the cork are thought to help the ageing process. So a 2012 claret (not a bad year) will be superb by about 2025 — or will it? The Chinese, currently buying up everything in sight at ridiculous prices, clearly think so. The rest of us will just have to stick to sulphites and screw-tops because it is all we can afford.

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And the fact is that screw-tops and sulphites mean there will be no unpleasant surprises in the contents — except for the possibility that you have chosen a duff wine in the first place. Almost all New World production now comes in screw-tops. Morrison’s have an Argentine Malbec on offer which slips down a treat; Anglo-Hispano have a bin end of Zinfandel which is also worth a try. This leads on seamlessly into a mention of Margaret Thatcher without which no newspaper/magazine is complete over the last month or so. Should one recommend an Argentine wine at this sad time? My mother, of blessed memory, worshipped the lady and procured me a signed copy of The Downing Street Years which I have unfortunately (?) mislaid. Actually, an unsigned copy would probably have more value as a rarity. Mrs T had little time for wine. She drank but little alcohol and then usually a good British product such as Scotch. This may explain a great deal. Shorn of the mellowing effects of a glass of good claret (or even Argentinian Malbec) who knows what might have been in other circumstances? Maybe... n

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GIBRALTAR MAGAZINE • MAY 2013

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The Gibraltar Magazine - May 2013  

Gibraltar's fabulous business and leisure magazine. Crammed full of great features from finance to football, from fashion to arts. Enjoy i...

The Gibraltar Magazine - May 2013  

Gibraltar's fabulous business and leisure magazine. Crammed full of great features from finance to football, from fashion to arts. Enjoy i...