Rainy Day Red 08/08/2017

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I hope you’ve recovered from my splenetic comments about the state of the atmosphere on Sunday, but if anything it has got worse hasn’t it. Although, after a day splashing in puddles, is there anything better than curling up on the sofa with a glass of red?

Having horses and doggies means it’s fairly difficult to avoid getting wet in this crummy weather, but with the right gear on you can still manage. I’ll never forget going to see a Pippa Funnell (famous horse rider) Masterclass when I was probably around ten years old. She was telling us about how she looks after the horses at home and made a point to never let a rainy day be a day off, “Just put a coat on,” she said, and so I pull my bright orange waterproof Musto jacket on and just get on with it.

The only one in the family who really hates the rain is the miniature dachshund, Chunky. She’d rather hibernate until the ground is dry enough not to splash her little belly, understandable really when you’re that close to the ground. Rainy days are widdle inside days for Chunky, there is no way she is going to put her paws in a puddle no matter how much prosciutto you dangle the other side.

Once the day is through, a dishevelled Olive (the border terrier) who has learnt to embrace the wet, a snuffling Chunky probably three cushions deep by now and I will pile into the living room. I close the door, light several candles and settle into a bottle of red and either bury my head in Before The Fall; a fantastic Noah Hawley novel my boss lent me or, I’ll flick on House of Cards and feel those delightful twinges of schadenfreude as I watch Claire and Francis battle it out.

My wine of choice on such an evening usually tends towards a Campo Viejo Rioja, currently £6.49 in Waitrose. This Spanish Tempranillo is a fine example of what they can do out there when they get down to it. I was reading about Spanish wines recently on Jancis Robinson’s fabulous website and I loved this:

“It could be argued that Spain is a viticultural miracle. After years on the sidelines of the world of fine wine, it is now a major player. Investment and ambition in vineyard and winery are resulting in more and more rich – often highly alcoholic – spicy reds that are finding increasing favour among international consumers weaned on ripe New World wines. Proud possessor of more land devoted to vines than any other, Spain is only just beginning to capitalise on this resource in any consistent or cohesive way – which is perhaps not surprising. If it had Germany’s love of efficiency, or France’s respect for centralism, Spain would have been sending us oceans of judiciously priced wine made expressly for the international market for decades. But Spain is an anarchic jumble of districts and regions, just as its landscape is an anarchic jumble of staggeringly raw scenery and heartbreakingly awful human constructions, and has to be treated as such by the wine enthusiast. There is real treasure to be found by those prepared to dig, however and, now that a connoisseur class has developed in Spain itself, all manner of ambitious investors have been doing their bit to change the image of Spanish wine.”

If you haven’t tried the infamous yellow labelled Campo Vieja Rioja yet, open your eyes to this Spanish bargain, pop your feet up in front of the TV and try not to drink the whole bottle in one.

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