The Daily: wine
Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Daily: November 13

We scour the news so you don't have to

Written by Helena Gumley - Mason
Bacon triptych sold at auction for record sum
A painting of Lucian Freud by Francis Bacon has become the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction. It fetched £89m. Unsurprisingly Christies chose not to disclose the identity of the buyer. The "Three Studies of Lucian Freud," from 1969 is thought to be one of Bacon's masterpieces and was sold after six minutes of intense bidding. This was the first time that the work was offered at auction and bidding opened at £50m. The presale estimate was £53m. Bacon was known for his triptychs and painted this particular work at the Royal College of Art after his studio was lost in a fire. Francis Outred – head of Post War and Contemporary Art at Christie's Europe, said that the work marked the relationship between Freud and Bacon, "paying tribute to the creative and emotional kinship between the two artists."

UK set to freeze over in "Arctic plunge"
The Met Office has said that the next week will be noticeably cooler with overnight frosts and temperatures reaching only six degrees. The colder weather is coming in from the North Pole and will probably rustle up freezing winds and frosty winter storms and may even bring some parts of the country to a standstill. Over the last weekend about 3 inches of snow covered the Cumbrian fells and areas in County Durham. Local authorities have already put gritters and snow ploughs in place in anticipation of the freeze. Krista Mitchell – a Met Office forecaster said that the beginning of next week will see temperatures "a couple of degrees below average." Mitchell added "It's certainly nothing unusual for November, but temperatures on Tuesday and Wednesday will be especially low." Time to dig out those ear muffs.

8 out of 10 of us prefer cheap plonk
According to taste tests, we have no taste. Hooray! Following the London Wine Academy blind testing it was revealed that a £4.99 bottle of Aspen Hills Chardonnay was more popular than the more expensive "19.99 bottle of Gerard Thomas Saint Aubin 1 er Cru. Six out of ten tasters thought that the cheaper version was the more expensive of the two. This has raised some important questions about what it is that makes more expensive wine that much more superior. The Academy said that the amateur testers based their opinions of the wines on the notion of "smoothness." The time of the Jacobs Creek, Echo falls and Tesco Simply is now – Vive la revolution!

Tributes paid to Sir John Tavener
Sir John Tavener – a leading British composer of the past 50 years has died aged 69. John Rutter said that Sir John "was absolutely touched by genius at every point." Perhaps the piece of music Tavener is best known for is his "Song for Athene," which was played at the funeral of the Princess of Wales in 1997. Of his friend and colleague, Rutter also said "he could bring an audience to deep silence which was a very rare gift." Sir John, famed for his deeply spiritual music, shot to fame back in the sixties with the avant garde oratorio - The Whale, which was released by the Beatles on the Apple label in 1968. Sir John, who died at his home in Dorset (having suffered ill health for much of his life) once said that "my way towards God has been to write music."

Where is Willy?!
Forget the Great Escape and Shawshank Redemption. This is the story of Willy, the prairie dog at Bergzoo in Halle in Germany, who cannot be tamed and contained. He has escaped his zoo enclosure no less than a hundred times. The Keeper – Petra Strecker has said that he started escaping in June to explore the rest of the zoo. Strecker is also the one responsible for finding Willy whenever he goes off on another adventure. She said that "Willy has lived with us since April, initially without any problems, but in June the rascal discovered that he could climb over the boundary wall." Pexi Glass has had to be installed above and below Willy's wall to stop him from escaping.

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