Here’s a story that you might find interesting…

Once upon a time, there was famous shopkeeper who took over the ownership of a biiiigggg, big shop in Knightsbridge.  He was an interesting fellow – short and rotund (that’s as far as the Mr Benn resemblance goes) with a funny accent, neurotic and lacking in sense of humour.  He was miserly on the one hand, but generous on the other and it wasn’t long before he decided that his wine department needed a re-furbishment.

So yours truly went to work with the help of the shop-owner’s architect and design studio and together, we designed a state-of-the-art, all singing, all dancing new-look wine department to be proud of.  The new look department now truly reflected the value of the shopkeeper’s store and everyone was delighted with the result, including the neurotic shopkeeper.

Don’t try this at home!

When the department was complete, scores of winery owners visited and enjoyed a lavish launch party.  All were happy and many glasses of Champagne were consumed to celebrate the opening.

Except one winemaker, who noticed that the Spanish and Portuguese categories had been listed together by joined overhead signage.  “How can this be?”, he asked, pointing to the signage.  “Since when were Spain and Portugal treated as one?”

And he had a point… these two countries may well be Iberian neighbours, but that’s about all they share as far as their wines are concerned.

I was prompted to recall this story because of two wines that sprung to mind this week – one from Ribera del Duero, the other from Alentejo.  What do they have in common?  Absolutely nothing – except that they are both glorious creations that I wanted to draw your attention to!

A long-winded blog, but I got there in the end!  Oh, and not forgetting the irked winemaker in the Knightsbridge store, he should fear no more – the wine dept has changed beyond recognition and his wine is no longer listed – big shame.

Check out :  JM Fonseca ‘Ripanco’ and Vinas del Jaro ‘Sembro’ Ribera del Duero

Like it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day is here to stay.  And as with every other established event in our calendar, global commercialisation is going the whole hog this year and ramming it down our throats.

I was in a (rather significant) store last week in the famed Oxford Street of London, where, to my horror, I discovered just about half of the basement floor had been allocated to all things Valentine-esque.  Mugs, cups, tea towels, furry animals, you name it – it was all there.  Not to do a dis-service to the manufacturers of those products, but, really?

Say it with…..

Then again, are we any better?  I have to be honest, Valentine’s is not an event that sits with much gravitas in the Hannibal Brown calendar of events.  Indeed, in all my years working in the wine industry, it hasn’t seen a great amount of activity.  Unless, of course, you are a restaurant.  In which case, I see many reasons to go out and share some swanky food with an equally swanky bottle of wine with the most important person in your life.

Not to mention our sister website – – which, at this time of year is surely worthy of mention.   Their special Valentine’s Day promotion offering a personalised wine couldn’t be more suited to this celebration.  They’ve been busy this week designing wine labels for customers who want something unique and memorable – and why not?  Hannibal supplies the great, reliable wine, and the designers do the rest.  Simples.

If you want to read more about personalising your wine for your loved one then hop onto the website at