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Andrew Barrow doesn’t recommend drinking wine underwater

I wouldn’t describe myself as dynamic, interesting, exciting, gregarious, funny, clever, talented, dog lover… what’s the opposite of sarcastic?

What wasn’t the reason you became interested in wine?

What a dumb-arse question. Its WINE! What’s not to be interesting? Ok, Ok… I didn’t become interested in wine for the money, the fame, the fun, the travel opportunities.. although a couple of these have come to pass…

How wouldn’t you describe your hugely popular blog Spittoon?

Serious, insular, preaching, narrow –  as I say in reply to the question below – there is more to wine than just some alcoholic liquid in a bottle. This is exactly what Spittoon is all about. Started in 2004 it and its siblings has morphed into showcasing my exploration of the whole wine sphere. Yes there are tasting notes, yes there are food pairing ideas and restaurant reviews and all the other ‘normal’ wine blog stuff but increasingly there is a wider exploration of ‘wine’ – travel, (wine tourism is a growing area), art (take a look at the amazing video posted recently, sent to me from Italy). The internet is such a visual medium… and explains perhaps my growing obsession with photography. Over the years my perception and enjoyment of wine, of food, of other cultures has increased amazingly and spawned enjoyment in travel (love a train trip, me), in cooking  (well I try) and good food (whether Michelin starred or homely, country fare) in addition to photography. I’d love to feature more work from other ‘artists’ and content creators…

What regions of the world don’t get enough recognition for their wine?

In the UK you can source pretty much any wine from any region – up to a point. Many of those ‘cult’ Californian wines never make it over here (and if they do they are stupidly expensive) and the more interesting, smaller producers from Australia and New Zealand, are not seen much either. But even wines from such unlikely wine producing countries as Turkey (was there in late 2012) with hard-to-pronounce but unique grape varieties and China (quality issues aside) can be found in the UK. This is what makes the subject so exciting; there is always something new to discover, a new destination to explore, a new producer to revel in, a new grape variety to experience, a fresh taste sensation, a new food/wine pairing to enjoy and so on. There is more to wine than just some alcoholic liquid in a bottle.

What doesn’t make for good wine?

Here is where the snobbery can rear its tentacles… much is slated about the mass produced, the big brands, the ‘industrial’ sized production of wine, especially from Chile, Australia and America. These products are slated as being the very epitome of bad wine…. OK, so once you get ‘into’ wine you will come to appreciate more subtly than these wines offer and revel in finding and supporting smaller producers, and find that these wines are indeed lacking in interest, are over sweet and so on. But it is these very same wines, the approachable, the affordable and the easily accessible that first get people interested in the subject. And they do have their place. And sell in vast numbers because people enjoy them! A bottle of Aussie big brand red graced my table recently and washed down a pulled pork sandwich dripping in barbeque sauce very nicely…

How shouldn’t people drink wine?

I don’t advocate drinking wine under water. I mean, all that salty infill will simply ruin the flavour. If you are at home and drinking wine underwater then I surmise that you are probably drowning in the bath… drinking wine, in fact drinking anything, while on a bouncy castle probably isn’t such a good idea either. And drinking bubbly out of those coupe glasses seems downright daft to me (Marie Antoinette must have had very strange boobs…)

And I don’t advocate drinking on your own… well not more than a glass or two… for wine should be shared with friends; old friends especially but it does cement new friendships beautifully. Not that I am advocating jumping out the front door and kidnapping the first dog-walker that ambles past… but I’ve met some fun, interesting and fabulous people over a bottle (some were even American… and owned dogs!). Met some idiots, pompous arses and twats too mind…

What don’t you like about the wine world?

I’ll tell you what I don’t like. I really don’t like the connotation that if you enjoy wine – and perhaps even know a little about it – that you are a snob. Why is there also so much ‘seriousness’ about wine? I blame the French… wine should be fun! I also dislike the majority of the dross served as wine in most UK pubs (which explains why, unless it’s a wine bar, I drink beer in the pub…)

Final question – if you were to be sent to a desert island and could only bring three things, what wouldn’t they be?

I wouldn’t bring a dog – smelly, yappy, horrid things. A jar of everlasting peanut butter wouldn’t be high on my list either (quite possibly the most hideous, mouth-clagging, food stuff ever invented after squirty cream) and I wouldn’t relish handling a double baby buggy across the sand dunes either… not occupied anyway… babies – smelly, yappy, horrid things…

Many thanks to Andrew for participating in our anti-interview. Enjoy more of his insights at Spittoon 

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