Our resident wine blogger Miss Bouquet tells us to Man Up!

Stop. Date check. It’s nearly 2012, non? And yet I’m still rarely passed the wine list unless Mr B gestures for the waiter to do so. It makes me wonder when I’m out with my girlfriends how staff decide which one of us looks worthy of being handed the wine list. What qualities do they look for within the group? The one with the largest nose? The one that looks like they earn the most? Wine savvy or not when it’s just us girls they can’t fall back on the usual indicator of what is or is not between our legs….

With this in mind I’m manning up. Not in a stuff my trousers sort of way or by quoting equal rights the next time a wine list is swooped into Mr B’s hands. Non, this month I’m manning up my wines, I’m talking wood, full bodied, oaky wines that stand up and get noticed and can’t fail to be taken seriously. Au revoir light and floral, delicate whites and pinker than pink summer rosés. This season I’m drinking manly wines, wines that won’t pull their punches and are so fantastically complex that you’ll be left in no doubt as to who’s wearing the trousers.

Champagne Billecart-Salmon have it right on trend with their new release: Brut Sous Bois NV. Vinified completely in French oak barrels this is an unusual style of non-vintage (NV) Champagne that expresses exceptional body, sophistication and depth of flavour. It’s retro wood inspired label will make your eyes spin and your wallet too but its layers of brioche, vanilla essence and dried pineapple characters make it worthy of its £65 price tag and its exclusively short list of stockists (Harvey Nichols, Handford Wines, James Nicholson).

But if bubbles are keeping you too close to your feminine side then try Ben Marco Malbec 2008 from Mendoza, Argentina, a wine so masculine it has testosterone running through its name! Take a sip and it’s like biting into a dark chocolate covered cherry liqueur truffle; intense, naughty, and impossible to resist. £18.99 at Selfridges, and cheaper when it’s in stock at Majestic.

Talking of wood…. what is it with one wine list per table? We’re not expected to share the food menu.

Just a thought.