Beverage Report: Lack of resolutions

DO YOU still remember your New Year's resolutions? I didn't make any so I don't need to. What goes unmade will remain unbroken. Thus, I don't have to worry if I can't stop guzzling Remy Martin Louis XIII, which a press release boasts is the most expensive commercially available Cognac in the world - pounds 2,000 per magnum, with packaging so swish (hand-blown Baccarat decanters) that even the stoppers are numbered.

If I had made resolutions, however, one would have been to keep expanding my horizons in the field of coffee. If you're in the same mood, you may be interested in a pair of new initiatives launched by Costa. At their central London roaster the coffee bar chain is holding Saturday "Coffee College", three-hour tutorials with a maximum class size of six. You'll learn about the origins and types of coffee and the principles of roasting, and receive instruction on brewing. If the course delivers what it promises, the pounds 50 fee (including lunch and a goody bag) does not seem exorbitant. For more information, ring Lorraine Miller on 0171 840 2058.

Those with more money, who want someone else to do the brewing, can hire a Costa "barista" for the evening. Throw a dinner party and the barista will come along and make filter, espresso or cappuccino for up to 20 guests. This ultimate yuppie entertaining accessory costs pounds 150 for the evening, and includes all the brew (including liqueur coffees) everyone can drink. The service is available only inside the M25, if you have the disposable income (and inclination) to take advantage of it.

I would rather spend the money on cut-price wine from the sales. The list from Laytons (0171 388 4567) is a nice one for claret-drinkers especially: 10 to 15 per cent reductions on 111 bottles, starting at pounds 3 for halves of the estimable Cotes du Castillon Chateau Pitray 1995. Please note, however, that the sale started at the end of last month and some parcels will have been sold off by now.

A sale is also in progress at Fuller's (0181 996 2000 for branches), where 30-odd bottles are knocked down. Most of the globe and price scale is covered, but my eye is caught by a clutch of Burgundies including a mature Latricieres Chambertin Camus Grand Cru 1987 (pounds 9.99 from pounds 11.99). Or, better still, Boillot's Puligny Montrachet Clos de la Mouchere 1994 (pounds 19.99 from pounds 24.99). Boillot is usually regarded as one of the best producers in this appellation, and any wine of his from a good year, for under pounds 20, has to be worth a splurge.

Elsewhere in the world of wine, my request for news of interesting wine- related activity on the Internet has brought in several leads. The one I've explored most is a gem of a site (http://www.gla.ac. uk/tbc1b) operated by Tom Cannavan, IT Training Manager for the University of Glasgow and owner of a 600-bottle cellar. "The site started life 18 months back", he writes, "as a project to get my cellar notes online to share with friends. It has grown alarmingly since then to include over 300 tasting notes, introductions to some of the great wine regions (including maps), wine- related links, wine book reviews, an 'everyday drinking' best buys guide, Scottish restaurant guide and much more. It also includes the entire set of notes for a wine appreciation course I run for adult learners at the University of Glasgow."

Everything is of high quality. Cannavan's tasting notes are clear, comprehensible and (with the wines I've drunk) reliable. His computer expertise makes the site a model of design and production. And he has the right attitude: "What I love about this hobby is that it is endlessly fascinating and constantly renewing itself." Worth a detour on your cyber-travels.

And finally ... Burns Night is on the menu over in the food pages, and naturally your thoughts should be turning to single malts. For my part I will contribute a list of Derek Cooper's favourites. An impassioned malt expert, his personal list comprises Talisker, Lagavulin, Laphroaig, Highland Park and Balvenie. Without pretending to one tenth his knowledge of the subject, I can only say that I like all of them.

If you too are a relative novice, you may want to pick up Classic Malts of Scotland, a box of 50ml miniatures representing the major areas of whisky produc- tion. Talisker and Lagavulin are included, along with Oban, Glenkinchie, Craggamore and Dalwhinnie. There's no more than a taste of each, but it's a good opening shot (pardon the expression) for beginners. Available from Victoria Wine and Threshers stores for around pounds 16 for the set, or individually from Oddbins. While I can't say which will go best with the Burns Night supper, I guarantee that you'll enjoy conducting your experiments.

Arts and Entertainment
The Secret Cinema performance of Back to the Future has been cancelled again
filmReview: Sometimes the immersive experience was so good it blurred the line between fiction and reality
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
Arts and Entertainment
Crowd control: institutions like New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art are packed

Art
Arts and Entertainment
Cillian Murphy stars as Tommy Shelby in Peaky Blinders

TV
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The cast of The Big Bang Theory in a still from the show

TV
Arts and Entertainment

art
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
    Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

    With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
    Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

    How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

    As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
    We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

    We will remember them

    Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
    Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

    Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
    Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

    Acting in video games gets a makeover

    David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices