Sunshine and fine wines to dominate news

“Dear Raymond, it really annoys me seeing your magnificent column tucked away on page 14 or 27. Or wherever it is that they’ve hidden you this week. Yours faithfully, Disgusted, Newtownabbey”. An excerpt and a fairly typical one from my burgeoning inbox. Well, Disgusted, you have my full sympathy and support.

By An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
Sunday, 24th April 2022, 9:00 am
Updated Sunday, 24th April 2022, 10:50 am
An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug
An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug

Shouldn’t these columns of mine be on the front page, tipplers? Not the main headline, they can reserve that for an article about food- some delicious, must-try recipe. But the front page could have a secondary supporting article 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’m taking 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? About as many as woke up praying for Irish unity, I’d wager. Most of you thought about 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 debating what to have for dinner tonight. And maybe, just 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 another pointless election here, the PM has possibly turned up in a Mayfair gutter clutching a bottle of Bollinger while Rishi Sunak rifles through his wallet and elsewhere it’s most likely war, war, war. And, of course, these things matter. But let’s fast forward 10 years and ask ourselves whether that 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.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Let’s imagine that the powers that be have listened to my wise counsel and your pleas, tipplers (do write in, you’re my only hope), and that the front headline of today’s News Letter features a mouthwatering recipe for chicken Marbella with garlicky roast potatoes and a green salad. In the supporting column (continued on Page 4), you’d find me extolling the manifold virtues of today’s WINE OF THE WEEK, the ripe, creamy and fulsome 2021 Viognier Grignan les Adhemar Domaine de Montine (£11.50, the Wine Society, visit or telephone 01438-741177). Pronounced apricot and peach flavours mingle pleasantly on a delightfully tangy palate alongside honey and subtle spices in this elegant, voluptuously perfumed, bone-dry Rhone Valley white. Perfect with poultry or white fish.

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. And anyway, I prefer red. Well, if you pop down to Lidl today they should still be stocking the satisfyingly savoury, sumptuously smooth and intensely fruity 2019 Cotes du Rhone AOP (£6.99). Opulent and tangy plum and blackberry flavours dominate a complex palate alongside backnotes of cherry and dark fruit before a judiciously oaked finish with subtle strands of lick-your-lips liquorice. One for a Sunday roast of beef or lamb.

And before Barra brings us the weather we’ll conclude today’s headlines with one final recommendation- 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. I’ll be enjoying mine with my darling wife, Madame G., and some chicken bang bang in (one hopes, c’mon Barra!) the evening sun at our lovely home, Rose Cottage.

And may the sun also shine where you are. Especially in Newtownabbey for Disgusted. Till next week, tipplers, sante!