Picking blackberries for the last of the summer

Summer hasn’t been much good this year, has it? And now it’s almost gone. Pretty depressing, hey?

Well, that’s one way to look at it. Me, I’m more of a glass half full man and am inclined to believe that the best is yet to come. There have been the usual rumours of an Indian summer which I firmly believe to be true this time. And, more importantly, the kids are soon heading back to school so that’s bound to be bring a few days of sunshine.

When the sun does come I intend to be languishing on my new garden lounger at my lovely home, Rose Cottage, with my darling wife, the illustrious Madame G., sharing a glass or two of today’s WINE OF THE WEEK, the pale salmon-coloured, delightfully dry and impressively elegant 2013 Etoile de Mer Rose (£11.99 or £8.99 each for two until September 29 from Majestic Wines, visit www.majestic.co.uk or telephone 0845-6056767).

Beautifully presented in a stunning ‘Sophia’ bottle, this exquisite blend of Cinsault and Syrah grapes has a velvety smooth, sophisticated and delicately balanced palate where the intensity and depth of ripe raspberry and strawberry flavours develop nicely alongside lively citrussy backnotes before a discreetly acidic finish. Enjoy with seafood or salad.

“Late August, given sun and heavy rain for a full week the blackberries would ripen” is how Seamus Heaney put it. Well, my meteorological friends tell me we’ve had twice the normal rainfall for August this year but we must have had some sun as well because my Madame and I have enjoyed a couple of days’ successfully blackberry picking.

And I’ve made the annual blackberry crumble which was even more delicious than normal this year. We enjoyed it after a meal of chicken with saag aloo and a bottle of what you could almost term ‘blackberry wine’.

From Tesco, the big, bold, devilishly smooth and resoundingly fruity 2013 Rawnsley Estate Cabernet Merlot (£5.49) has an abundance of muscular, ripe blackberry and plum flavours which dominate a delicately spiced palate before a lengthy finish with beguiling notes of oak and lick-your-lips liquorice.

I’m old enough to know better but still each year I believe summer will be warm, sunny and last for ages and I continue to be surprised when it isn’t and utterly bewildered when it ends. Which is why it’s important to have a glass of good wine on standby. Unlike the weather, it never lets you down. It’s as reliable as Madame G! Till next week, tipplers, sante!