Nick Riggs

Wine time with Simon Woods - Al Fresco Holidays

Shorts on, flip flops next but one top priority once I get on parc is what I call “wine acclimatisation”. The senses are already alive with the sunlight, the sounds of the countryside and the smell of foreign soil, and then, somehow, the taste buds start to play up in expectation too, for a taste of the “terroir” (that wonderful French word which forges the link between the pasture and the palate with a respectful nod to the traditions of the local producers).

It could be a chilled Cotes de Provence at le Colombier or a sultry Sangiovese at I Pini but I’ve grown accustomed to savouring that sundown moment on my deck with a drop of the local stuff as the defining moment of having “arrived”, the curtain call that announces the holidays can begin.

 It was a desire to understand the alchemy of wine acclimatisation which led me to look up Simon Woods, one of Britain’s foremost wine journalists and recently voted wine blogger of the year. Simon even wrote a chapter on terroir…’not terror or terrier but terrrrwaaaah’ as he puts it, that something “which encompasses all the natural elements that can affect a wine. In his bestselling book “I don’t know much about wine, but I know what I like”. Simon unlocks the wonders of wine in a witty and approachable manner. He kindly agreed to bring his insight and wisdom to the vineyards surrounding Al Fresco’s parcs, to unlock the secrets of the cepages in his own inimitable way, and give you a handy local guide so that your wine acclimatisation can start from the fireside this winter. Look up Simon on his award winning blog entitled “drinking out of the box” at and watch for regular posts from Simon on the Al Fresco blog in the next weeks.

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