Only the best wine for a top class wife

On Thursday past my beloved wife, the illustrious Madame G., and I celebrated our 22nd wedding anniversary.

By An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
Saturday, 30th July 2022, 9:00 am

They say the first 22 years are the hardest and she hasn’t killed me yet so I must be doing something right. When I first popped the question about 25 years ago, I was shocked and dismayed when she merely agreed to consider my proposal. “When you ask for someone’s heart, you must be sure that you’re smart- smart enough to care for it, so I’ll take some time to think it over,” she coolly reasoned.

So I learned seven languages, digested the collected works of Schopenhauer, became a wine connoisseur and even bought the very lovely Rose Cottage on the North Antrim coast. I also served her lots of exquisite food and wine until she finally agreed that I had sufficient smarts and was roadworthy. To mark the anniversary, we went on a day-trip to Dublin and eventually got there after 6 hours of mayhem on the Enterprise train service. Not their fault- beyond their control but exasperating nonetheless.

Thankfully, my Madame still loved her grumpy husband enough to resist the urge to throw him over the Ha’penny Bridge into the Liffey, thereby inheriting his magnificent wine cellar. To thank her, I cooked some chicken this evening with onions, potatoes and peppers in a bone broth with coconut milk, chillies, garlic, ginger, lime and oh you name it spice-wise. Delicious it proved, especially paired with today’s WINE OF THE WEEK, the exceptionally fresh, fragrant and zesty 2021 Virgile Joly Sauvignon Blanc (£10.99, Naked Wines). This zingy, expressive, easy-drinking French white bursts with citrus and mineral flavours alongside floral aromatics which lead to a luscious palate full of round, gently spiced fruit flavours- lots of elderflower and peach with backnotes of almond- before a clean, tingly finish. A rustic and gloriously refreshing white. Very summery indeed- all we need now is some sunshine.

An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug

If anyone deserves an award today, it’s my beloved Madame for tolerating me for so long but alas she’s not getting one just yet. It would however be quite strange to marry a French woman- our first encounter was in Paris’ Luxembourg Gardens where, as a young theology student at the Sorbonne, I managed to catch her eye and kiss her lovely little lips- without drinking at least two bottles of French wine.

And if any wine is synonymous with romance, it’s Pinot Noir. From today’s WINE RANGE OF THE WEEK, M&S Classics- excellent representations of all your favourite grapes and blends at very affordable prices- today’s second recommendation is the light-bodied, youthful and exuberantly juicy 2021 M&S Classics Bourgogne Pinot Noir (£13). A lively, tangy palate is dominated by ripe cherry and summer berry flavours which are nicely countered by gentle tannins and backnotes of cinnamon and clove.One to enjoy lightly chilled with lean meat or poultry.

Do you know what? What, you reply. That train journey was so stressful and I hate to leave anyone out so let’s have 3 bottles of French wine, this time a rose. Today’s final selection is zesty, lively and brick-red in hue. The lipsmackingly crisp, reassuringly elegant and satisfyingly savoury 2020 Bendel Cuvee de Caroline Cotes de Provence Rose (£9, Centra/SuperValu) greets you with a captivating floral bouquet before a richly textured palate that teems with lively red berry and slightly sharper citrus flavours. One for mildly spiced Asian dishes- think chicken korma or saag aloo,

Perhaps I’m getting soppy in my old age but I’ve reconsidered and my darling wife is going to get an award after all today. Each week, I dole out a Wine of the Weeek award so all I have to do is change one letter. Today’s WIFE OF THE WEEK is the elegant, complex and delightfully dry Madame G! A lithe, youthful and very intense red who seems certain to be an ideal match for every occasion in this life and beyond. Not for sale anywhere, at any price! Thanks for thinking it over, Madame, and proving yourself a top class wife. Your prize is to live with me. Forever. Now, let me fill up your glass again. And again. And again. Till next week, tipplers, sante!