Hold the front page for food, wine and sunshine!

Sometimes I think these columns of mine should be on the front page. Not the main headline, that should be reserved for an article about food- for some delicious, must-try recipe.

Saturday, 24th April 2021, 6:00 am

But they could be secondary supporting articles for people wondering what to drink with that special supper. I’ve suggested this many times to my boss but she just rolls her eyes so I’ve decided to go over her head and take my case to you, my loyal readers.

Consider this, how many of you woke up this morning wondering what was going on in the world? Precious few. Most of you thought about what to have for breakfast. And when you engage in conversation with your significant other, is it to discuss political affairs or the state of the economy? Unlikely. You’re probably discussing what to have for dinner tonight. And maybe, you’re thinking a wee drop of wine to wash that down wouldn’t be the worst idea.

Now, I have no idea what the headline actually is today - there’s probably a row up at Stormont and youngsters are most likely still out rioting. Perhaps a new vaccine-resistant variant of Covid has been found in Belgium. But let’s fast forward 10 years and ask ourselves whether today’s headline is likely to have any relevance to our lives anymore. Doubtful. What we can be certain of, however, is that should God see fit to spare us, we’ll still be thinking about what to have for our evening meal and that maybe a wee drop of wine to wash that down wouldn’t be the worst idea.

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Let’s imagine that the powers that be have listened to my wise counsel and that the front headline of today’s News Letter, the best-selling ever edition of the world’s oldest English language daily newspaper, features a mouthwatering recipe for wild garlic, tarragon and mint roast chicken with roast potatoes and a medley of summer vegetables. In the supporting column (continued on Page 7), you’d find me extolling the manifold virtues of today’s Wine of the Week, the dry, delicate and elegant 2019 Society’s Exhibition Sancerre (£17, the Wine Society, visit www.thewinesociety.com or 01438-741177). Vibrantly herbaceous and grassy aromatics lead to a mineral-rich palate which is balanced by the acidity of citrus and peach flavours. Sophisticated and, despite the eye-catching price tag, I’d say for wine of this quality it’s a keenly priced bottle which will prove an ideal match for poultry or seafood.

Of course, some of you will be saying - hang on, I thought he was going to find us something we can drink tonight, not next week. Well, if you pop down to Lidl they should still be stocking the fresh and fragrant 2019 AOP Chablis (£11.99). A theatrically ripe pear and stonefruit nose welcomes a luscious palate full of lemon and crisp, apple flavours which are balanced by understated spice and discreet hints of oak. Zingy and zesty, this tangy white will also go well with seafood, salads or spiced Asian or Mediterranean cuisine.

Lovers of red and people with less disposable income, I will never forget you. Today’s final recommendation is the big, bold and fruity 2019 First Cape Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon (Tesco, £6). A smooth palate is dominated by blackberries with backnotes of black cherries which are nicely balanced by firm tannins before a oaked, peppery finish in this easy-drinking South African red. I’ll be enjoying mine with my darling wife, Madame G., and some chilli beef tortillas in the evening sun at our lovely home, Rose Cottage.

On which note, I know it’s a bit of a squeeze but I’d try to make space on the front page for the weather report too. Great food, gorgeous wine and sunshine, what more could the good folk of Ulster ask for from their morning paper? Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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