Fiona Duff: It won’t be house white on the night

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Like many of you reading this I am quite partial to a glass or so of wine. However, I also have to admit that despite supping the stuff for a couple of decades (at least) I really know hee haw about what is in that bottle lurking in my fridge. When I am in the supermarket I look at the label, check the colour and if the price is right I buy it.

However, next week I shall be meeting a man who really does a thing or two about grapes. John Kolasa is a legend in the world of wine and he’s going to be here, in Edinburgh, to host a dinner at Howies restaurant in Waterloo Place. And what with him about to retire next year it is my one and only opportunity to spend some time in his company.

Obviously, before our assignation next Wednesday I thought I should mug up a bit – I have already discovered that the study of wine is called oenology. Yes, another ‘ology’ (Maureen Lipman will explain) to add to the many subjects which I tried to study. I think that this one will be more fun than sociology.

The first thing is that there is a certain amount of etiquette when drinking the finer wines. Rather than just lifting a glass to my lips and glugging it back, I shall have to sniff, swill, savour and delicately sip. I guess that there is quite a bit of self-control required – I mean when wine costs more than a tenner it’s a crying shame if it gets spilt it down the front of one’s blouse.

I shall nod knowingly as he describes bouquets and undertones (whilst trying not to sing Teenage Kicks) as well as try hard not to end up with a red wine moustache.

Most of all, I have been told that under no circumstance must I suggest that we should just have a carafe of the house white, as I have so often said in the past. To be honest, with my record I’ll probably be sitting at the back of the restaurant.