Claretsgirl, wine, football, and a split personality

claretsgirl football wine

I’ve been in and around for ages on this interwebby thing. Problem is, now I think about it, it appears I have a split personality. Claretsgirl and being a football fan or One Foot in the Grapes and enjoying wine (errrmmm quite a bit) or Jane Clare and both?

Mmm. I’m all three – but can I be all of these things out there in the ether? I’m not sure to be honest. It’s all very confusing.

Right. Here’s the story of my identity crisis.

Claretsgirl: Chapter One

Moons ago (in football terms it was the end of the 2008/ 2009 season) I joined Twitter as @claretsgirl.

This was a very exciting time for Burnley FC fans. When I joined Twitter, we’d just won promotion to the Premier League.

If you don’t follow footie this was a BIG thing for a club from a small Lancashire town, a club nonetheless steeped in football pride and history. My dad and his family had supported the Clarets for decades; I was the latest recruit.

Claretsgirl Burnley play-off final
Back then – claretsgirl aka Jane Clare – so very happy at the play-off final

At the time Twitter was a newish thing and all the guys in our Liverpool newsroom were using it. I didn’t get it – “but its a good source of news and finding people with similar interests” I was told.

Fair enough: As footie was HUGE for me at the time, I joined wearing my Burnley fan “hat” and eagerly hunted around for other Burnley fans on Twitter to share the joy.

Someone nicknamed our embryonic group of tweeting Clarets’ fans the #twitterclarets (High Five to @Hop3y for that) and we were as giddy as kids in a sweet shop with extra E-numbers drizzled on top.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Two

Remember those days of tweet-ups. Tweety people met in pubs (preferably) or coffee houses (not me) to put faces to Twitter names and to prove to each other they could speak in sentences that contained more than 140 characters.

I met one chap who’d followed me on Twitter  because he thought the clarets in claretsgirl stood for wine. Poor chap. He was disappointed it was “only” football (he definitely wasn’t a football man). Saying that, he was unknowingly giving a nod to the future.

As it was, @claretsgirl was on Twitter and not a glass of wine in sight (well, that bits a lie, but you know what I mean).

Back on track with the story. Two things happened. One not-so nice and one nice.

The not-so nice thing: I was poorly and off work for a while

My mind was so mushed I couldn’t work out how to cross a road. I was whacked. I guess it was like putting petrol in a diesel engine, when everything splutters to a halt.

Twitter was a lifeline for me when I started to improve. I loved the skill of using minimum characters and words to share a message, a thought, a joke. I rediscovered my love of words (and myself).

And so claretsgirl the blog was born.  A collection of musings, but mainly about mum, dad and Burnley FC.  My final post on claretsgirl shared tributes at dad’s funeral. I left it there. No more claretsgirl blogging.

Claretsgirl: Chapter Three

I hope you’re keeping up.

So this is the nice thing. I went to Chablis and fell in love with wine.

Sometimes journalists (I’m one) are invited on press trips. I was invited to Chablis. Well, it would have been rude not to go.

If you’re reading this because of the footie bit and you don’t know about the wine bit, you’ll be going Chablis? Yeh? Right? And so ….?

Chablis is a famous wine / village in Burgundy and you can read about the trip here … but don’t disappear just yet.

Jane Clare clarestgirl in Chablis wine
Raising a glass in Chablis

I returned totally hooked on wine. This was like hooked on wine. The whole caboodle.  E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.

Back at home, I decided to learn more; I began a wine column called ….. and this is the next identity crisis bit …. One Foot in the Grapes

High Five to my workpal Jamie for thinking of that name, which I think encompasses two things:
1) me and wine and being very clumsy
2) me and wine and  being an old bat

Let’s recap.

My name is Jane Clare.
That’s my name. The name’s not for changing.
On Twitter I’m  @claretsgirl.
I don’t want to lose that.  It’s my club. And I’d be mightily pissed off if I gave up the name and someone else became @claretsgirl.
Hands off!!
My blog
I’m leaving that untouched. A little time capsule of memories living out there somewhere.
One Foot in the Grapes
My wine stuff. The name of this here place. I like the name.

The reason I’m thinking about my identity crisis is this:  I’m learning by example from other bloggers and wine lovers in the ether as they’re not scared about putting themselves forward and blogging about their lives and their love of wine.

But I’ve gone a bit shy in my old age. I want to blog and I want to be brave enough to blog. So I’m dusting myself down. Giving myself a kick up the proverbial.  But who am I? Do I need to refine my online persona?   Can I have three identities?

I have to get my act together and start being me. But which “me” is the question.  My head’s in a tangle.

I’d put it to a vote but quite frankly I don’t trust votes at the moment. #Brexit

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Wines from team put to the taste test

Chablis Hipster ultraviolet wine bottle review

The only thing I’ve ever associated with wine, which glows in the dark, is yours truly. My pinkish nose and a wine flush around the cheeks are enough to brighten anyone’s journey once the sun goes down.

But I’ve discovered a gadgety-kind of wine bottle which glows in the dark too … William Fèvre Limited Edition Hipster Chablis 2013 (£16.99 from has   60s-style imagery created in ultraviolet ink, which reveals “hidden designs” when placed under black light.

Chablis Hipster ultraviolet wine review
Chablis Hipster ultraviolet wine

Or so I’m told. I couldn’t quite work out how to embrace the challenge of this light-up-in-the-dark party bottle, sent to me by the team. To be honest, I was a little taken aback that  Chablis had been robed in a gimmick.  But if it reaches a new market of “young urban wine drinkers” can that be so wrong?

Well let’s see.  I forgot the gimmick and tasted the wine. It’s a pale lemon colour with hints of honey and stewed apple on the nose, and a frizazz of apple-bursting acidity which liven up the tastebuds after a long dreary, wet October journey home.

The 31dover team sent me some other wines, and I enlisted the help of some Tasting Elves (is it too early for that?? OK, some Tasting Pumpkins to a) share the love and b) so you don’t have to read my   comments all the time.   This is what my Pumpkins say.  

Chablis Broc de Biques Damien & Romain Bouchard 2012
Chablis Broc de Biques Damien & Romain Bouchard

First up, another Chablis.  Chablis Broc de Biques Damien & Romain Bouchard 2012 (£14.49) This promised ‘ripe fruit, lightly brushed with honey’ and ‘classic Chablis notes of chalk and oyster shells’. I have never eaten oyster shells or chalk so I don’t know about those but it was bursting with apple and melon flavours and had a creamy, buttery after-taste which made it go down oh-so easily. A bit too easily in fact! Worked a treat with a chorizo risotto.

Chateau Grand Tayac Margaux 2007 (£13.99) is from one of the most famous Bordeaux appellations – although at the cheaper end of the Margaux spectrum – it’s a very affordable introduction to ‘proper’ Claret that will impress dinner party guests.

Chateau Grand Tayac Margaux 2007
Chateau Grand Tayac Margaux 2007

A sophisticated, perfumed nose with a hint of spice leads into subtle fruit flavours of plum and raspberry with a hint of liquorice.  There’s a complexity to the initial flavour that dissolves into a simpler, satisfying finish – a bit like watching Lionel Messi beat five defenders with a mazy run before scoring with a simple tap-in.

Mas D'Amile Old Vine Carignan 2010 wine review
Mas D’Amile Old Vine Carignan 2010

Mas D’Amile Old Vine Carignan 2010 (£8.99) This medium-bodied red from the Languedoc region of the south of France certainly packs a punch. A deep, ruby red I could taste the dark fruits and strong tannins of the carignan grape. It’s supposed to have hints  of lavender and thyme but I didn’t get any depth of aromas on sniffing my glass.  A bold wine.

Senorio de Orlartia Rioja wine review
Senorio de Orlartia Rioja

The Senorio de Olartia Reserva 2004 is a velvety and mellow Rioja. It’s not a hugely robust red but with flavours of red fruit paired with hints of vanilla and spice it can still hold its own with meat dishes.   As you would expect from a Reserva it strikes a good balance between its fruitier or more strongly oak flavoured Rioja counterparts with its smooth finish making it an easy drinking choice.

Sara & Sara Friulano wine review
Sara & Sara Friulano

A final one from me. Sara & Sara Friulano 2010 (£9.49) An interesting wine which delivered an extra flavour, an extra aroma, every time I dipped in the glass. Deep golden, it had creamy honeyed notes on the nose; extravagant peaches which have been dowsed in liqueur for a Christmas treat. The aromas reminded me of a dessert wine like a Sauternes, but flattered with spice.  To taste, spicy and dry, not much fruit.

Published  in the saturday extra magazine October 11, 2014 

Liverpool Echo – South Wales Echo – Daily Post Wales – Huddersfield Examiner – The Chronicle, Newcastle – Teesside Evening Gazette – Birmingham  Mail – Coventry Telegraph – Paisley Daily Express