Fume BlancMatching Mondavi Fumé Blanc with a plate of battered haddock, hash browns, onion rings and some token peas proved a good choice – an evening filled with guzzling and munching followed. The glossy-green of Mondavi’s Sauvignon Blanc Fumé matched the treacle tones of the battered meal and awakened the signals from eye to stomach. A hard choice followed - drink or eat?


Drinking won. A lemon sherbet-dab tingle moved across my tongue, soon followed by a warming sensation as the 13.5% alcohol by volume moved downwards. The wine’s gala melon and buttery tastes didn’t overpower the creamy-haddock meal – both could be enjoyed and tasted to the full.


fishchipsMondavi’s £12.99 mellowness should prove pleasing to most people. But its price won’t. Two bottles of £5.99 Chilean Sauvignon Blanc or a 3-litre box of Soave would give longer-lasting value, but not the buttery flavours developed by aging this Fumé ‘sur-lie’ in pricey oak barrels. The choice is yours – do you want to pay another fiver for a bit of oak aging?

For everyday drinking I opt for fresh and fruity cheap high-volume wines, the expensively-made mellow Mondavis are saved as end-of-week treats.

Bolting rhubarb is not a good sign. The twenty year-old rhubarb patch in my neighbour’s allotment is showing all the evidence of being old and tired. Flower-heads are produced when a plant feels its life is threatened – a lack of water or nearing the end of its productive life are the most common reasons. But this is not a time to be down-hearted.

The hazelnut meringue came with embarrassed apologies. It was late and Michael, the chef at The Poolway House Hotel in Coleford, was reluctant to let such a cracked and crumbled meringue leave the kitchen.

Rocket is a first-time and last-time gardener’s staple. A sprinkle from your watering can or a shower of rain will prompt this salad necessity to pop-up after only a few days.