Sensational wine (and swimsuits) for a silly boy!

Once upon a time a man called Raymond was asked if he’d like to drink wine for a living.

Saturday, 26th June 2021, 6:00 am

Lacking any other feasible employment prospects, he took the bait and rushed back to his lovely home, Rose Cottage, to share the good tidings with his beloved wife, the redoubtable Madame G.

And so began their matrimonial idyll, living together in harmony, drinking wine and producing a weekly column almost happily ever after. Until last week. That’s when Madame G. left Rose Cottage to attend to some family business in her home country. Since then a distraught Raymond has been tormented by two dark thoughts. What if she decides that she prefers to live in her sunny native land than here in rainy old Ireland? Worse still, what if she meets a man who is even better at fixing computers and putting up shelves than I am? After all, aren’t her countrymen renowned for their irrepressible charm and an utter lack of morals?

To distract myself, I mean himself, from these worrisome thoughts, Raymond spent World Rose Day (yesterday, June 25, don’t tell me you forgot!) in the delightful company of the delicate, deliciously tangy, salmon-pink 2020 Balaton Kertje (currently £5.99, Lidl). Teeming with bright redcurrant, raspberry and strawberry flavours, each sip of this lubricious Hungarian rose seemed to Raymond to recall happier, simpler and sunnier times spent with his Madame holidaying in the Algarve. “Will we ever enjoy such times again?” he fretted.

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As he watched the pretty young maidens strolling by the cottage on their way to the nearby beach, Raymond’s competitive streak kicked in. Well, if she’s off on the continent cavorting with some burly handyman while I suffer here in solitude on the north coast, why shouldn’t I have my fun? In the nick of time, just as Raymond was mustering up the pluck to approach the comeliest of the many beguiling, swimsuit-wearing ladies, his telephone rang. It was Madame, declaring her love, telling Raymond how much she missed him and promising to come home just as soon as she possibly could.

To celebrate (and because it’s part of his professional duties), Raymond poured himself a glass of today’s Wine of the Week, the elegant, unctuously heady and superbly balanced 2018 Black Book Mix-Up (£14.50, The Wine Society, visit or telephone 01438-741177). I think it’s called Mix-Up because this English (yes, English) white is a 50-50 blend of indigenous Bacchus and Ortega grapes. Full of bite and zip, this impressively zesty, lipsmackingly crisp and gently perfumed drop is packed full of elderflower and orchard fruit flavours alongside backnotes of almonds and subtle spices. It will be an ideal match to either your roast chicken tomorrow or your seafood salad tonight.

Lovers of reds (and I don’t mean my Madame’s luxuriant golden tresses), fear not, you have not been forgotten. Today’s final recommendation is the bold, sleek and delicately spiced 2019 M&S Classics Chianti(£8). This opulent yet supple representation of the Italian classic has an intriguing palate full of ripe cherry flavours and earthy, pungent spices before a lingering finish with hints of vanilla, coriander and lick-your lips liquorice.

Wow! I’m so glad that I, sorry, I mean Raymond came to his senses before he seduced that gorgeous girl with the coy smile and come-hither eyes. And the sensational swimsuit! Yes, he could barely take his eyes off her sensational swimsuit. Such a silly boy. Till next week, tipplers, sante!

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