This much I know.

This last week has been both marvellous and meh. On the one hand, I taste wine for a living. Thumbs up. On the other hand, I have to work away from home for two weeks every year at a wine competition in London. Not a big deal pre-children, but a very big deal post-children. Not only do I miss them terribly (obvious pros withstanding) but I have to ask my family to take up the slack when it comes to childcare. And they are amazing about it. So, although I know lots about wine, I also know that I couldn’t do it without them. Here’s what I’ve learnt over the last week:

1. New Zealand Syrah is going to be MASSIVE.
2. I am going to drink more Italian white wine made from anything but Pinot Grigio.
3. 2009 was a brilliant vintage for so many Spanish, French and Italian reds.
4. I heart Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from cooler climate regions (Casablanca, Leyda).
5. Argentinian Malbec can be monstrously good.
6. If I could, I would drink Blanc de Blancs Champagne for breakfast most days.
7. Wine from Turkey is getting better, generally speaking.
8. Wine from Thailand isn’t, really.
9. Pinot Gris from Australia is on my shopping list for next week.
10. I’m also going to drink more Sherry, especially dry Amontillado.

Current white on the table: Viognier Leduc Pays d’Oc, 2010 France, The Bridge (£4ish by the glass)
So, this is the very cold glass of white I now have on the table in front of me, in the pub with wifi at the end of the road where I’m staying in London this week. After about 100 wines tasted today, I needed something cold, white and with lots of flavour. This one is perfect: all peachy and ripe and juicy. I love this wine and slightly love the waiter. I drank it with beef carpaccio: delicious.

Two more sleeps until I go home x

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  1. Interesting list. But no mention of South African wines let alone SA chenin blanc which I much prefer as easy drinking to the ubiquitous sauvignon blanc these days. Will check out The Bridge though as it's not far from my usual Barnes hangout, The Sun. (Though only as a visitor as I don't live in London).

    BTW I've done the IWC in the day, and my three kids survived. I'm disappointed that you need to mention that. Not good for female emancipation unless you were the swimmer at the Boat Race which I watched from Barnes and saw the incident and all we watchers considered was it comparable with the suffragette who threw herself in front of the king's horse that time. No. It wasn't. You have a choice. Please don't use your children and lifestyle arrangements as excuses or even reasons. It makes me cringe to think that all of us who proceeded you and fought for equality in the jobs market now have to watch while the next generation thrusts their child care baggage into the equation. Just do your job – which you seem to do admirably and leave the kids out of it.

  2. Goodness, what on earth's got into the first commenter? "Please don't use your children and lifestyle arrangements as excuses or even reasons". I had to read the post again – and still can't figure out where you were trying to make excuses, nor for what.

    Enjoyed the list, and as a seasoned Pinot Grigio drinker (please don't hate me) I will venture out of my comfort zone and try a few!

  3. I thought equality of choice was what we were after here, not women bashing women for wanting different things from one another….

  4. Don't worry. Happens all the time in the blogsphere. I think there's something in the water.

    And I'm almost exactly certain your commenter meant to say PRECEDED you rather than PROCEEDED you. You see? I've turned into a pedantic witch now, but I am a bit of a grammar fiend I's have to admit.

    Thanks for the heads up on some wines I will definitely try. HMSx

  5. Hey "elegancemaison", missing her kids terribly is not harming female emancipation, it's just being human! The emotional dilemmas of the working mother are shared by many. If you're happy with your work/life/parenting balance then good for you; but don't criticise others unless it's constructive criticism!

    This is my first angry comment EVER but you really annoyed me!

  6. I love that you spend the whole day drinking wine for your job, then go on a bus man's holiday to the boozer to relax at the end of the day.

    I have just arrived back in the UK with my husband and 3 children for a year, we decided to leave NZ so we could spend the year with my parents. Interesting what you say about NZ Syrah. The New Zealanders are deeply in love with Pinor Noir, most other reds don't get a look in over there and are miles cheaper so I look forward to reading your recommendations and trying them out.

    It is hard to see why anyone would take umbrage at you mentioning your gratitude towards the family who support you in your job by helping with your children. I hope the comments haven't upset you, if I read that on my blog, however unjustified, it would make me feel absolutely terrible, particularly if I was away from my husband and children.

  7. Also (to throw in my own good grief about that first comment) why would anyone assume that a father/man traveling would not feel exactly the same way and have the same childcare needs… Such silliness.

  8. Blimey, who knew that a nice post about wine tasting would provoke such controversy? :-/

    I am making mental notes of all your recommendations. (Except the Argentinian Malbec. I had the worst hangover ever on that once.) Totally agree on the Blanc de Blancs champagne for breakfast.

  9. I thought your comments were very sweet, it's lovely that despite choosing a great career you still miss them! Don't ever be tempted to apologise for missing your family ! It's a nightmare balancing everyone's needs within a family – anyone who says otherwise is deluding themselves! whatever gender! Take no notice. See you tomorrow!!

  10. Great post Helen….Doesn't the Knackered Mothers Wine Club give any clues to the content level here…C'mon people, chill out.

  11. Can I just ask that, tempting as it may be, nobody click through to the link for your first comment? Don't give this person – who clearly has issues of their own – the courtesy of a visit.

    And in other news… great list. I will see if any of your choices appear here. (Fat chance…) x

  12. Have to echo all the other comments in response to the first one – very odd…hope it hasn't upset you.
    (and I'm definitely with you on blanc de blancs for breakfast!)

  13. Blimey, what got into commenter no.1? As someone else said, a father would feel the same, so there you have your equality box to tick. I think there's a clue in the blog titls as to your priorities….kids and wine!

    All that pettiness aside, thanks for a great list! Always great to read your recommendations.


  14. I am NOT going to comment on the first comment. Mainly because my brain no longer works and I did not understand it. (Although I WAS tempted to say something about this is the sort of thing you can expect when we let women start thinking for themselves… hohohoho). Now Helen – how about some – horror – alcohol-free / low-alcohol wines… Do such exist? (I hope they don't so I will just have to keep sipping away at the real stuff)

  15. Thanks for that great watch-list – I will definitely keep a look-out for NZ Syrah (is it something that's likely to be available for a reasonable price, do you think? Sounds quite niche/expensive??) as well as the other things on the list! See? Not only do you learn, you also teach and inspire. Thank you and please keep it up and talk about whatever else crosses your mind, into the bargain. I like it and so do (most) others. Thank you, I'll shut up now.

  16. Ooh lovely to hear about all the wines you're liking. I'm taking notes (as usual!). Yes, I suffer with the being away from the kids because of work thing. Luckily, my family are very good too. Your odd commenter should be ignored (and probably deleted) as she's nothing more than a vile old troll. Why DO people feel the need to come and comment so horribly and in such an unsisterly like fashion. Grrrrr.

  17. Blimey! I thought it was an interesting and personal post. I often struggle to juggle but still appreciate the fact that we have the choice to do so. Perhaps elegancemaison should have a read about Mary McArther. She fought hard for a woman's right to equality within the working environment but didn't lose sight of the role of motherhood within that. I gave up on Australian wines a while back, perhaps it's time to retry. Thanks for the heads up.

  18. Love NZ Syrah and told someone about it just the other day. First commenter is a bitter has-been. That is all. You, on the other hand, are gorgeous, as a person, as a career woman, and as I've seen first hand, as a Mum. Love ya Knackered don't let the lemon-suckers get to you. xx

  19. Great post – off to locate more sherry, someone seems to have drunk all of mine!

    And as to the 1st poster, the post is about yes I miss my children and it's tough but I've got it sorted and I'm still doing a great job – surely our generation of working parents both male and female have the job to make it mainstream that it is hard to work and juggle and it can be emotionally difficult but we do it because we want to work and we do the best we can rather than just pretending we don't have children and don't mind about not seeing them?

  20. David in Horsham

    Small comment to Jenny Rudd – drinking wine and tasting wine are different activities. I know – I do both.

    • Very true – I have been to a wine tasting before and seen someone arrive, shake off their coat and 'order' a glass of wine from one of the stalls in a kind of 'thank goodness my day's over, now I can have a vino' way. My friend hosting the event was unimpressed. I am an amateur in these matters unfortunately but love reading what people write about wine in an interesting way, which is why I love this blog. Thank you though, I shall be mindful in the future of my choice of words.

  21. Definitely the stand out point in this post is that New Zealand Syrah is most certainly going to be massive. North Rhone quality with Kiwi prices.

    The other matter is just as baffling to me as the others who have commented here. I am a Dad, working ridiculously long days, also at a wine competition. Like you,some of us work very hard, in jobs we love, but don't love our kids any less as a result, as you've made clear on this blog. The suffragette movement was a great cause and sacrifice but I can't see the relevance here.

    Keep on truckin'

  22. I really should get into this sherry game shouldn't I, instead of just using in cooking when I don't want to waste wine.

    Great list. Silly comment from No.1. Must be something in the air.


  23. Thank you all for such supportive comments, I feel so much better! I'm now at home, having got back in time to put them all to bed with big cuddles all round. Now sitting with my lovely mum having….guess what? A glass of Viognier! Keep on truckin' indeed x

    ps – Jessica, will do you a post on low/no alcohol wines soon…

  24. Dr Uncle Bunny

    Lovely list KM – 1200 wines is a massive effort!
    Mrs Uncle Bunny cries out for cold beer after a big tasting….

  25. Thanks for this – NZ Syrah – that's exciting!

  26. I love, love, love everything that you write here, and so look forward to your weekly musings. So keep your chin up, remember that jealousy can be a terrible thing, drink up and jog on! xxxx

  27. Or perhaps that should have read "blog on" ;0)

  28. Good list. My latest love is South African Marlborough Coast Sauvignon Blancs. I know it might be a real fad but I'm addicted (in a good way). Glad to have some other options.

  29. Enjoyed the list. Some wines are new for me, I will definitely try them. Glad I found this post. Its very informative and motivating!

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