Alex Smith

Alex Smith

Phone: 07810 766737 in the UK, or +44 7810 766738 for international enquiries.
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Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:59


Abona – I know next to nothing about this small, demarcated wine region in the south of Tenerife (nor, indeed, had I ever heard of it until happening upon the fact that within Abona lies Europe’s highest vineyard, at over 1500m). I have never tasted any of its wines and – as none are apparently available in the UK – I am unlikely ever to do so without going to some trouble. Were you to develop a fondness for them, remember never to say, ‘Oh, yes, I do like Abona.’ There are hundreds of little appellations like this dotted around the wine world, many of which have within them at least some conscientious producers whose output would be deserving of attention had we but world enough, and time. My apologies, then, both to those producers and to those inquisitive, wine-loving souls who’ve recently holidayed in the south of Tenerife.

Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:54


Aberlour – speyside distillery making a range of classy single malts including excellent cask-strength A’bunadh, arguably the best of the Pernod Ricard-owned whiskies and particularly popular in France.

Wednesday, 03 June 2015 14:36

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous)

AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) – a salutary starting-point, in case one should get carried away with what follows. Conceived by Bill ‘W’ in 1934 on a rainy night in Akron, Ohio – and who, in truth, might not succumb to strong drink on a rainy night in Akron, Ohio? – ‘the club’ now has around two million members belonging to about 100,000 groups throughout the world. Iceland has one for every 1,250 people (the highest), while Britain has the same ratio of pubs per head of population – a much more sensible idea. The ‘Twelve Steps’ – although it sounds like an Aussie Chardonnay – is in fact the core programme of the ‘fellowship’, which strives to maintain the anonymity of its adherents and encourages sober members to mentor new ones via one-to-one sponsorship. The first step requires the subject to recognise rock bottom and their powerless- ness over alcohol; the final step exhorts them to carry the message of AA to other alcoholics. Controversy surrounds the quasi-religious terminology used by the organisation and its insistence that total abstinence is the only solution; however, their results are impressive (at least they have been for a few members of my family). Aberfeldy – the flagship distillery (Highland) of Dewar’s whisky (itself owned by Bacardi and the biggest-selling Scotch whisky brand in the USA). Unusually, markets just two single malts: a twelve-yearold and a twenty-one-year-old.


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On writing

I have been writing about drinks since 2000, mainly for newspapers and magazines, and also through my blog, which is being updated alphabetically here (see below).

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The Knowledge: Red Wine.

Published by Quadrille.
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