Is it snowing? Not when you’re drinking wine

Sometimes it snows in April is the title of a beautiful Prince song.

An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug

Well, it’s April as I write this and on the wireless they’re forecasting snow. Prince misled us, dear tipplers. Snow in April is not melancholic or poignant. It’s just annoying and inconvenient e.g. I’ll have to delay planting the chicory, nasturtiums and broad beans in the garden of my lovely home, Rose Cottage. Worst of all, it won’t even be proper snow. Summer delayed is summer denied.

On top of all that, I’ve also had to rethink my recommendations for your vino this weekend. If it snows or even just rains incessantly with the usual furious gales then you’ll probably not want anything the gloriously refreshing whites and pinks I had carefully selected for you. I work harder for you than you might imagine. Step forward instead today’s newly revised WINE OF THE WEEK, the elegant, smooth and superbly balanced 2019 Medoc AOC (Lidl, £7.99). Exceptionally ripe blackcurrant and cherry flavours complement a lively, brambly character in this rustic Bordeaux red which goes wonderfully well with red meat or poultry. As close to sublime as you’ll find in this price range. One to consider for your roast lamb on Easter Sunday.

My darling French wife, the redoubtable Madame G., often expresses her bewilderment at how people in this country wear shorts and T-shirts in all weathers. I tell her that’s because we dress for the weather we hope is coming soon rather than what’s actually happening right now. It’s a noble practice which simultaneously feeds both optimism and resilience. The two qualities needed most in our crazy world right now. Those of you expecting more clement conditions soon may prefer the easy-drinking, fruity and delightfully tangy 2021 M&S Classics Beaujolais Villages (£8). 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 very slightly chilled, perhaps with roast chicken alongside garlic and rosemary potatoes.

Lovers of white, pray for sunshine. If we do get it, then I’d suggest you get tore into the easy-drinking and very versatile 2020 M&S Classics Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc (£10, M&S). This fabulously fresh, zesty South African white is full of bright citrus and tropical fruit flavours on a lively palate alongside notes of fresh herbs and alluring grassy aromatics before a lingering, discreetly acidic. One to enjoy with mildly spiced Mediterranean or Asian cuisine, particularly seafood and salads.

Today’s final recommendation is for anyone feeling down on their luck, whether they’ve just been drenched in an April shower or have seen their horse pipped at the post in today’s Grand National (Santini is this resilient optimist’s tentative selection). A sweet embrace won’t hurt. Try today’s final selection, a delicious salmon-pink Tuscan dessert wine- the intensely fruity, rich and superbly rounded 2014 Donna Paola Passito Toscano (£7.99 for 37.5cl bottle, Lidl). Peach and apricot flavours dominate a sumptuous palate alongside more subtle hints of cardamom and almonds before a gently acidic citrussy finish. Enjoy with blue cheese or dark bitter chocolate.

A lot can happen in three days as Our Lord told his disciples. Well, it’ll be at least seven days till you hear from me again. Perhaps by then my chicory and broad bean seeds will be outside soaking up the sunshine we all deserve. We’ll probably have a cure for cancer by then too, maybe even rising energy costs. World peace and an end to all wars will have been agreed. Peace, justice and equality will prevail. In the meantime, we’ll just have to make do with lots and lots of delicious wine. As I once asked my Madame just before she agreed to marry me: “Is it snowing? I hadn’t noticed.” Till next week, tipplers, sante!