Exploring life’s wonders with a world of wine

Before the internet exploded, life held some mystery.

Saturday, 17th April 2021, 6:00 am
Enjoying an occasional tipple with Raymond Gleug

Nowadays, however, if we want to know the answer to anything we just go online. Coming up with imaginative theories and explanations for questions like why the HMRC considers you an employee when you’ve never agreed to be an employee of anyone (answer - it just does and your objections, however well reasoned, hold no water, much less wine) seems pointless now. If a 30 second google search doesn’t demolish your sense of righteous injustice, then a 60 minute crawl through the HMRC website will.

Anyway, I’m sure you don’t want to hear about my problems. Neither do I, if only that voice inside my head would stop going on and on, railing against the injustice of everything... More worryingly, as we find out more about life and how things really are, old certainties crumble. To the extent that many extremely intelligent people now query, based on what seems like solid scientific and historical evidence, whether we are actually real. Do I, Raymond Gleug, renowned wine connoisseur and bon viveur, exist? Can I discard that troublesome tax bill? Are the words on this page real? And are you actually reading them? I prick myself and I bleed or, at least, so it seems..!

These questions are not new as such. When David Bowie sang “homo sapiens have outgrown their use” back in the 70’s, we could dismiss this lightly as the pseudo-philosophical ramblings of a very talented but possibly slightly ‘influenced’ man. But when respected historian and philosopher Yuval Noah Harari writes “homo sapiens is an obsolete algorithm”, and backs up his assertion with incontrovertible historical facts and closely reasoned philosophical observations, we feel obliged to take him seriously.

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I believe the best way to restore life’s mystery may well be to hide from all the information we are being bombarded with. Immerse yourself instead in exploring life’s beauty and wonder through travel, literature, religion, meditation, music and, of course, wine. Upon which note, I’m currently enjoying the sublime, albeit desperately disturbing, O Superman by Laurie Anderson while sipping a glass of today’s Wine of the Week- the easy-drinking, fruity and delightfully tangy 2020 Beaujolais Brouilly (£8.99, Lidl). This excellently-priced, light-bodied red has lots of ripe summer berry flavours on its exuberantly juicy palate before a smooth, lingering finish. It will benefit from being served slightly chilled, perhaps with crispy duck in a plum sauce alongside garlic and rosemary potatoes.

As part of your mission to investigate life’s infinite wonders, you would do well to explore all the wines you possibly can. Do it without ever being a drunkard and you’ll be doing much better than me! Lovers of white, you have not been forgotten. Why not get tore into today’s second recommendation, the startlingly crisp, nutty and elegantly perfumed 2019 M&S Classics Soave Classico (£8)? Plenty of lemony zip and almondy bite, this will be an excellent match for a good chicken Caesar salad. Or you could play it slightly safer with the fresh, fragrant and gloriously refreshing 2020 Dino Pinot Grigio (currently £6, Tesco). This unoaked Italian white bursts with sharp lime and juicy peach flavours alongside grassy aromatics with backnotes of butterscotch. And who doesn’t love a drop of Pinot G in the sun?

So, if Harari is right, then our species (if it ever truly existed) will be defunct in about a century or so. Ah well, sure that’s the way it goes. We gave it a lash, didn’t we? We had a good oul’ run at the thing, hey? Goodnight ladies, ladies goodnight... it’s time to say goodbye. Yes, we’ve surely sucked our lemon peels dry. So why not get high, high, high? Tax bill, meet waste paper basket! Till next week, tipplers, if God or Covid or whatever force is in charge sees fit to spare us all, sante!

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