Yesterday I left Oggsford for the wee village of Denton, where one of my oldest college chums lives with his English wife. But on the way we stopped for refreshment at The Three Conies in the village of Thorpe Mandeville, a pub with good beer, great food, and (important at this time of year) an open fire.
It’s tied to the Hook Norton Brewery, which is okay because Hook Norton makes fantastic beers. There’s a selection of four cask ales:
Sadly, they were out of Old Hooky, one of my favorite pints, but the Flagship was very good.
There’s nothing like a good pint, a plate of haddock and chips, and an open fire on a drizzly day:
For dinner at my friends’ there was an appetizer of shrimp, washed down with a fine Condrieu; and,with the main course (stuffed peppers), I was given a choice of four great red wines (below). It was a very tough decision. I love Cote Rotie (Rhones are the best), but there were two spectacular Portuguese wines as well as the 2001 Viña Ardanza from La Rioja Alta, one of the two or three best Riojas I’ve ever had (I’ve previously sampled only the 2004 vintage). Kudos to the person who guesses which one I chose!
After dinner I had the luxury of watching a live (televised) football match: Juventus played Chelsea in the Champions League. For those of you who follow football, you’ll know that Chelsea had a miserable showing, losing 3-0 in Turin. And, this morning, Chelsea fired its coach Roberto di Matteo, a serious mistake given what he did for Chelsea last year. When Abramovich (the gazillionaire owner of Chelsea) finds a replacement, it will be the ninth manager of his team in nine years.