Hello 2019

I was going to write in a ‘today’ format, like a diary but I really can’t see myself finishing this today so lets just call it Tuesday.

On Tuesday the weather was so divinely gorgeous one could breathe in and think, hang on, is it Spring? Only the dire hedgerows and impending darkness gave it away but other than that, I really think I got a little bit of a tan. I am joyful because as I write this, I’m watching the masterfully written character of Alice in Luther. “My god she’s chirpy, must be insufferable,” she’s just uttered, isn’t she fabulous?

Prior to this moment in time, my lovely housemate Reece popped his head into the living room to offer me his collection of Malorie (pronounced mar-gaw-eee) Blackman novels whereupon my wine now sits as I intend to re-read these works of genius having forgotten about them until Reece’s polite interruption. I mention this because Reece looked ever so slightly alarmed upon entering the living room to see 12 empty wine bottles on the coffee table. “They aren’t all from this evening,” I trilled as he left to sort out his small but rather marvellous library.

And they aren’t, and as you may have noticed I’ve been rather quiet lately deciding how on earth to write about them all. The 12 solid bottles are only half or say quarter of what has been consumed over the festive period, I imagine the rest are already fulfilling their new life as a recycled environmentally friendly candle by now. The rest are taking up valuable space on my window sill, warning the world that there is a resident wino, knock at your own peril Rutland residents.

So anyway, I thought, how do I tell everyone about these wines without boring them to death so then I thought, I’ll just tell them about the ones that really stood out. So here we are, and to begin, I’d like to tell you about the under a tenner marvel from The Wine Society.

The Society’s Sicilian Reserve Red 2014
Grape: Nero D’Avola 13.5%

What a pleasant surprise this was. After a Christmas of Terry’s Chocolate Orange for breakfast followed by roll upon roll of sausage I was full to the very brim. Then, I invited my fetching friend Amy over for supper and she brought with her more bloody party food. I didn’t think I could handle another battered bit of meat but I misjudged myself entirely, who knew macaroni cheese covered in oil soaked gluten could give one so much pleasure.

Despite all this, I wasn’t sure whether I could handle red wine after supplementing the supper with gin. I inched my way down to the cellar and chose this particular red, I’d forgotten all about it but it looked yummy, ‘why not!’ I thought. What a bloody pleasant surprise. It was so refreshing, so pure. You drink this and think, why the fuck am I sharing it, this is a bottle so pure I could drink it in peaceful solitude and wake up sans hangover. Amy, fortunately, was just as appreciative which helped, as did the price tag, what a delicious wine.

Here’s what is says on the website:
Not for the first time, buyer Sebastian Payne MW followed his gut and has delivered a great new addition to the range. In only its second vintage this is a generously flavoured, smooth, oak-matured red made from local nero d’Avola grapes that has been as big a hit with wine writers as it has with members.

Sold? Click here. (I wish this was an ad)

Next on this list, although nothing has really stood out against the aforementioned is Little James’ Basket Press. Again, a great value wine with tonnes of depth and caudalies. I never understand if caudalies is a verb or an adjective, is it a numerical value? It’s tricky. The James I know certainly isn’t little and nor is this wine. Produced by Chateau St Cosme, this gem is non-vintage 100% Grenache from the Rhone.

What makes it stand out is the solera system used, old fashioned (same system as Sherry, Terry) but fantastic. On the nose, you can really pick up those lovely notes of Grenache with the spicy black fruits. On the palate, again deep fruits, plenty of depth, a tease of tannin but really quite impressive. And, did you know, when I say 100% Grenache, these grapes are a family tree of depth, some of which date back to 1999, where I imagine they were made into wine not preserved as grapes, quite the genius blend.

I bought this wine from my favourite wine shop in Burnham Market, you can too.

I was going to mention a few others, but they’re from gigantic supermarkets and you’ve probably tried them already. Have fun this year won’t you?

Oh crikey, hang on. there’s one more that isn’t on the shelf I simply must mention.

I haven’t written another review on The George & Dragon in Seaton but I meant to because every time I visit, it gets better. Not only do they have the wonderful Omar as chef but Ralph (the owner) has since added Jess Lamb to his arsenal and she is turning into a font of wine knowledge. While I was trying to absorb as much as possible from Jess, she mentioned how many people aren’t really sure what they like. She used the classic example of how savvy wine enthusiasts will think ‘well if I buy a Chateauneuf du Pape it’s bound to be good’ when they could try something new. Jess is encouraging people to go outside of their comfort zone using her own contagious enthusiasm and within this conversation we spoke about Pauillac.

Once you start blogging about wine, people begin to see you with a certain sort of professionalism, it’s really strange. I only know what I know from what I’ve tried which is minuscule in the grand scheme of things but thankfully, I am very good at taking on pressure and I excel at making decisions. therefore, choosing wine comes very naturally. My sister thrusted the wine menu at me, “I just don’t know what I fancy,” she suggested. I flicked through, the beginnings of a cold taking it’s toll, willing a wine to both cure me and curious me. There it was, La Fleur de Haut-Bages Liberal Pauillac 2014. This wine is a well-balanced combination of Cabernet Sauvignon and a little Merlot. It’s truly a charming wine, perfectly balanced and agreeable enough to both pair with L’Escargot (my absolute favourite) and pizza… We had the two bottles in the end, it was the perfect end to an exquisite holiday visiting my sister whom I love very much.

I am slowly emptying my cellar which means it’s finally time to find myself another job, watch this space! Please do send any wine recommendations this way, I love hearing all about them.

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