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1. What was the first wine that really piqued your interest and inspired you to find out more about it?
Oddly it wasn't anything grand. It was a muscadel from a small wine shop to which a much older friend had introduced me. I thought it was madly sophisticated.

2. You have a keen interest in pairing food and wine. Do you prefer to match a dish to a wine or vice versa?
Like most people mostly the food but occasionally you do have a bottle you think deserves building a dish or a meal around.

3. You have done more than many journalists to promote rosé. Do you feel that it is now taken seriously as a genre?
I think the trade sees its possibilities but most consumers still buy on price - as they do with other wines to be fair. The interest in Provence rosé, particularly in more expensive bottles and magnums helps though. Personally I love it!

4. Left to your own devices do you gravitate towards any particular grape or region?
Tricky one. I'd say no one region - there's good ones everywhere - but I do have quite a weakness for pinot noir. And syrah. And chardonnay. And I've got a bit of a thing about cinsault at the moment. You get my drift...

5. Can you tell us an interesting food and wine match from your travels?
Oh, gosh. There are always so many. I was really struck by how well Tasmanian sparkling wine went with oysters. It's incredibly pure and dry. I generally find champagne too sweet for raw shellfish unless it's extra brut.

 

Fiona Beckett

 

6. The British aspargus season is upon us. What would be your default wine accompaniment?
If you force me to choose, Sancerre but there are so many different pairings that work. Here's a list if I'm allowed a plug for my website https://www.matchingfoodandwine.com/news/pairings/top-wine-pairings-with-asparagus/ It's not the troublesome vegetable it's made out to be.

7. Some time ago you started laying down a joint 'cellar' with your son. How has that progressed?
Not as actively as we both hoped! We're both so busy that we don't have much time to sit down together and plan it. I think he gets the better deal though as it's in his house!

8. What do you think kick-started Bristol's enviably vibrant food scene?
Independent businesses. It is still possible for chefs to open up a small restaurant in a way they couldn't afford in London. And the Cargo developments at Wapping Wharf have given more casual eating a fantastic boost.

9. Do you think the decline in print journalism is going to make the professional wine writer's role dramatically different?
Absolutely - to my regret. But if you don't have an online presence these days you're mad.

10. You have made a succesful career out of writing about wine. What advice would you give to a young person wanting to follow in your footsteps?
It used to be all about going into local newspapers, now anyone can start a blog. But give it focus, attitude and a good reason for people to keep coming back to it. And update it regularly. Journalism is not a profession for the dilettante!

 

Fiona Beckett:
www.matchingfoodandwine.com
Twitter: @winematcher, @food_writer
Instagram: food_writer