Falling leaves and fabulous French wine

Falling leaves drift by my window, Autumn leaves of red and gold.

By An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
Saturday, 18th September 2021, 6:00 am

Sitting in the parlour of my lovely home, Rose Cottage, I look at my darling wife, the illustrious Madame G., pottering about in the kitchen, as I prepare our dinner and I sigh. What season are we in - you and I, ma chere Madame? Not Spring, that’s for sure. Late Summer at best. Yes, it’s a long time from May to December but the days get short, well, right about now...

A sobering thought which is the last kind of thought you want when contemplating love, life and mortality. A terrifying prospect if you’re single and yet how much more devastating may the losses be for a couple or, worse again, a family. Life, like a terrible prison, has many exits all manned by burly security guards waiting to punish you by gruesome means should you try to slip out unnoticed. Escape? There is none. So I pour myself a second, third, maybe fourth glass of today’s Wine of the Week, the rustic, complex and deftly spiced 2020 Calvet Prestige Bordeaux Superieur (£7.50. Tesco). This vibrant, ruby claret has a rich, smoky palate, full of forest berry and black cherry flavours alongside backnotes of vanilla and dry tannins. Should be an ideal match to the sausage, pepper and chilli pasta in a creamy mustardy sauce that I’m knocking up for my Madame. Or for any tomato-based pasta dishes that your own Madame or Monsieur may choose to knock up for you...

One advantage of my profession is that I get sent wine from far and wide at no expense to myself. Wine which you will have to order in, pay for and await delivery of but if you’re serious about wine you’ll understand that it’s often worth the effort. Especially if it’s from the Wine Society (01438-741177 or www.thewinesociety.com) who work with small growers to offer a variety of intriguing, sophisticated wines from around the world at competitive prices. The good stuff that you won’t find in your supermarket or off-licence. Worth checking out, a recent hit for me was their delightfully dry salmon-pink 2020 Flaminio Negroamaro Brindisi Rosato, (£8.50). Teeming with bright redcurrant, raspberry and strawberry flavours, this veritable mouthful of Indian summer in a glass will go well with simply cooked fish or poultry.

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An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug

Lovers of white wine, I will never forget you! Not even when the Autumn weather turns the leaves to flame... September, November! No, these few precious days, I’ll spend with you. Oops, lost myself there in the music. Don’t blame me, blame Sinatra! Where was I?

Yes, I tend to drink white mostly in the brighter months myself but my Madame’s an all-year-rounder, especially if I throw three or four frozen black grapes into the bottom of her glass. So today’s final recommendation is the easy-drinking versatile and refreshing 2020 Soave Classico (£8.50, M&S). This fresh, zesty Italian white is full of bright citrus and peach flavours on a lively palate alongside notes of almond and hazelnut before a lingering, finish. One for a prawn, chorizo and red pepper paella with a green spinach and herb dressing please, Madame.

Seasons pass, age withers and changes us and those we love which is perhaps life’s greatest disappointment. To lose the strength or beauty we once had, to watch it happen to those we love. Still, it hardly matters now, does it? It’s an old tale, common as muck, afflicting all classes, creeds and colours. And sure it’s all just a bit of craic anyway. That might be the answer. I’m sure if I keep on pouring I’ll find the answer down here somewhere. Perhaps it’s right down at the very bottom of the bottle. But which bottle? Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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