Fine wine and fruity gins for tough times!

Terrible times lie ahead. Not for you, dear tipplers, one hopes.

Saturday, 12th June 2021, 6:00 am

Just for poor little ol’ wine drinker me. Alas, my darling wife, my most empowering, loving and protective shadow for the last 24 years, the redoubtable, the illustrious and the very enigmatic Madame G., is leaving me. Not for good, she assures me. And yet she’s flying to her home country- where she tells me she must attend to some compelling business- on a one-way ticket. One believes her, of course. One-way is the only possible way. The only sensible course of action in these strange times where travel rules may change so quickly. And yet, one never knows. Does one? One merely trusts. And prays. How one prays!

And drinks. Wine in the sunshine to pass the wearisome time. And when the sun deigns to shine, the kind of wine I like to drink is, for the most part, white wine. Today’s Wine of the Week is therefore the ripe, zesty and fulsome 2020 Cauquenes Estate Viognier/Rousanne/Marsanne (£7.75, the Wine Society, visit www.thewinesociety.com or 01438-741177). Pronounced apricot and peach flavours mingle pleasantly on a delightfully tangy palate alongside honey and subtle spices in this elegant, voluptuously perfumed, bone-dry Chilean drop. It will prove a fine accompaniment to mildly spiced Asian cuisine or old-fashioned classic favourites like the delicious Chicken Marbella which my Madame and I enjoyed al fresco in the dying rays of a perfect day at our lovely home, Rose Cottage, last Sunday.

I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear my trousers rolled. Yes, my love leaves me at the very point in my life where I am most acutely aware of my advancing years and of the dreaded end which their slow passing portends. For most people it’s the falling Autumn leaves or the bare wastelands of Winter that bring on such troublesome moods. However, when your 59th birthday falls on Midsummer’s Day and you’re married to a teacher who still measures time by the school calendar, Summer becomes the season of morbid melancholia. A Summer which I must face alone. Musha...

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Or almost alone. Happily, I have a well-stocked wine cellar for company from which I have just plucked today’s second recommendation, the fabulously fresh, lively and vibrantly aromatic 2018 Tierra Hombre Sauvignon Blanc (M&S, £7). Lean, lemony and slightly savoury, this complex, crisp Chilean white has fragrant floral aromatics on the nose which lead to pithy grapefruit and mineral flavours before a brisk, tingly, discreetly acidic finish. One to enjoy with seafood or salads on one of these balmy Summer evenings which, like love, seem slowly but surely to be coming around the corner and into plain view.

On the plus side, every time she’s left me before the weather has always suddenly improved. Up to now, she’s always come back. Like the rain, you may say. True, so while you’re basking in the sunshine ,please forgive my little raindance. In the meantime, drink some gin. Gin, says you? Yes, well didn’t you know, the 12th June is International Gin Day? I love a traditional G&T myself but the trend these days seems to be more for fruity gins. Best of the many fruity ones I’ve tried so far- for research purposes, you understand, and to help you decide what you should drink for I always have your best interests at heart- is the superb Hortus Violet and Blackberry Gin (£16.99 for 70 cl bottle, Lidl). I’ve been experimenting mainly with lavender-based cocktails but it also works well with more traditional mixers like tonic water or lemonade.

The other bad news is that I always go slightly haywire when my Madame leaves me. So Lord knows what you’ll be reading about in the coming weeks. As if it wasn’t dire enough already, says you. Bear with me, please. It might get better in the long run. Who knows? Hope dies last. In the meantime, a nice glass of white wine may help. Or even a fruity gin? Yep, thought so... Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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