Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Aggh, The Heralds Strangely Grim

Fa la la la laaa, la la la laaaaa.

Edit: Now directly links to the Herald article thanks to EFL Geek. I knew there would be a way around it but I didn't think it would be that simple. 9 years in IT and what do I know? Nothing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am really happy to have the chance to write for a national newspaper and I really appreciate what the Herald has done. It is me that is the problem. I mean, I had nightmares about this last night. I should be excited to see my name in print for the first time since I did a poem for a local newspaper when I was 12. I should be, yet I just feel a great unease. My name there. My thoughts there. Appalling! I suspect that it is some cowardly belief that if you put your head above the parapet you are going to get shot at.

However, it is good to see the article published with very few changes. Next time, 2 weeks now folks, I will provide my own strap line if I can. I am not sure if beating up on the national drink in big black letters is such a great idea myself.

Anyway, parents, here is the link to the Heralds version. You need to click the Expat Living tab on the left, underneath Weekly. I still can't direct link, if anyone knows how..........

And here is the version I submitted to them this very Saturday:

It is an exciting time to be a wine drinker in Korea. Whilst you are sure to have frustrations, be they related to price or to range, it is difficult not to get caught up with the sheer enthusiasm in this rapidly developing market. When flicking through the TV channels it is no surprise to see a smartly be-suited man or woman wearing white gloves explaining to an eagerly nodding presenter about the joys of the particular bottle. They nod, smile, sniff and let out an appreciative 'Waahh!'. I love it. Pretentious, naff and ever so slightly silly yes, but it sure beats the hell out of Soju shots and beer bombs.

Wine lovers are much like record or book collectors, we love the thrill of the hunt. Perusing bottle after bottle, vintage after vintage, looking for that one stand out bottle that manages to combine great quality at a great price. If you can throw out some preconceived notions of how much a bottle of wine should cost, be your currency Dollars or Pounds, and work solely in Won then the bargains are here to be had. Whilst there is no alternative to the "Three Buck Chuck", in the 10 to 20,000 won range there is plenty of real quality and in the 20 to 50,000 won range you are spoilt for choice. Relatively speaking.

At this time of year it is traditional to turn your back on the finer things in life in the name of fitness(diet) and health(drink). The traditional January abstinence is all very well and good but as one of the more miserable months on the calendar I say why not instead embrace life's pleasures and save yourself the guilt of failure. Certainly it may be good to drink less but let's all drink better. Put down that pitcher, shy away from the soju and instead enjoy "Wine that maketh glad the heart of man."(The Book of Psalms, 104:15). My intention with this column is to highlight the wines that I think are worth drinking at the best prices I can find. There will be no 100 point rating system, merely a description and an opinion, wine is highly subjective and there is very rarely a right or wrong opinion on a particular bottle.

So, for this inaugural column we get to the first review and an absolute stand out bottle in terms of price. Argentinian wines are making some headway in the specialist wine shops and convenience stores here and this is good news for us consumers. There are a number of poor quality Chilean wines on the market and so the introduction of some South American competition can only lead to a boost in quality levels. The 2006 Alamos Malbec(11,000 won,Shindong wines, Hyundai department stores and elsewhere) is a textbook new world Malbec. Deep red in colour it offers up a good nasal hit of black fruit, blackcurrant and black cherry underpinned with some chocolate notes. This all follows through on the palate in a lovely, soft and fruity style that is wonderfully approachable. It is the kind of bottle that you will finish without realising. There is an Alamos Pinot at the same price which is also rather good and trust me, is a steal at the price.


Anonymous said...

"I am not sure if beating up on the national drink in big black letters is such a great idea myself."

Saying wine is superior to soju is an obvious truism, not even the most patriotic Red Devil fan will disagree with that. The best use of soju still remains an acetone alternative for removing paint.

Big Bliss said...

The soju comment is actually directly lifted from your text anyway......

The pedant in me had to see whether you had submitted "colour" or "color". I see it was the former. Thats got to hurt.

squirrelandgman said...

What worries me about the soju headline is the number of crazies on the internet. Soju addled crazies worry me even more. I worry a lot.

BB: I didn't notice the colour/color change. It is to be expected though. I can't believe you thought I would have submitted color though. I mean look at it. It looks all wrong. Thank God there are no grey wines out there eh?