Lessons in love, wine and technology

Valentine’s Day has been and gone.

By An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
Saturday, 19th February 2022, 7:00 am
An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug

Perhaps the love remains? No? All loved out? No matter. I still have some bottles left over, dear tipplers, which may serve to rekindle your jaded souls. Overdosed on wine, champagne and romance? Well, how about some non-alcoholic gin then?

Today’s first recommendation is the super-smooth and gloriously refreshing Gordon’s 0.0% Alcohol Free Gin (widely available, £14 at Tesco, £14.50 Sainsbury’s, prices may vary elsewhere). Loaded with all the best distilled botanicals and plenty of pronounced juniper berry flavours with just a hint of citrus- if I didn’t know that it wasn’t “proper” gin, well I’d probably think it was. Even better, nearly, than the real thing. Serve lightly chilled with tonic water, lemon, a garnish of mint and lots of ice. As if you didn’t know.

Now for the many more of us who are far from tired of booze, romance and the like and who perhaps need it even more than ever right now, here come the wine recommendations. Firstly, however, I should warn you of an under-reported danger of the whole post-Valentine’s hangover which I learned about as a student of theology at the Sorbonne many moons past. Acedia- a state of listlessness, torpor, ennui and such- was considered by early Christian monks to be the most troublesome of all mental states. For the carelessness and indifference which it induces is the most fertile ground possible for all our other human failings- lust, anger, sloth, drunkenness, recklessness etc. So, keep your minds active, tipplers.

In the meantime, today’s Wine of the Week, is the ripe, robust and exuberantly juicy 2020 Puglia Rosso (£7, M&S). Full of decadent cherry and soft blackberry flavours on a complex palate alongside subtle spices and backnotes of espresso, this exciting and very modern southern Italian red is one which will go equally well with a midweek veggie pasta dish in a rich tomato sauce or some barbecued poultry and grilled meats at the weekend.

Lovers of white may prefer to get on the right side of their lovers by pouring them a glass or two of the fabulously fresh, lively and vibrantly aromatic 2020 Rocca Murer Pinot Grigio Trentino (£7, Sainsbury’s). An ideal match to seafood or mildly spiced curry dishes.

As for ourselves, my darling wife, the enigmatic Madame G., and I decided to mark Valentine’s Day last Monday by matching crunchy rounds of French bread, toasted goat’s cheese and tapenade with today’s final recommendation, the deliciously dry, delicate and ferociously crisp Freixenet Cava (widely available, £8.99-£9.99). Brimfull of citrus and green apple flavours alongside hints of almond and brioche, this extremely well-priced Spanish sparkler is a very welcome mouthful of Summer which seems guaranteed to brighten even the bleakest of these wintry February days.

Upon which note, once upon a time a man loved a woman passionately but she couldn’t stand him. The man died and found himself locked in a hotel room with that woman. Alas, they were told they could not leave the room because a new and even more vicious, vaccine-resistant variant of the virus which had killed him had just emerged. So they were stuck in the same place. Forever... One in Heaven and one in Hell! But only a matter of time until acedia sets in. I hope they have plenty of booze and that they keep their minds active. Wordle? One suspects that their heavenly positions may change from time to time. So, be nice to your partner. Who knows how long you’ll be stuck with them? Love is for life (and longer, one hopes), not just for Valentine’s. Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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