Wine to drink, promises to keep...

Lots of promises are being made. Children are promising to be good.

Saturday, 13th November 2021, 6:00 am

Parents promise that if they are good, then Santa will come. In London, MPs are promising to behave themselves so long as they can dictate what constitutes good behaviour. There, Santa always comes. Here, certain political leaders promised to bring down Stormont if the NI Protocol wasn’t ditched by the end of October or, failing that, November or was it maybe December? It all depends... let’s not rush things for at this time of year the woods are lovely, dark and deep.

In Glasgow, bigwigs promise to save the world which, I’m told, is even more important than Santa or the NI Protocol. Wine drinkers, you can do your bit too by checking out the credentials of your suppliers and, some argue, by shopping “local” i.e. European. On that note, the Wine Society have announced that they are undertaking an ambitious project to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions across its business and (crucially) its supply chain by 2040 as part of its mission to be the most ethical and responsible wine retailer in the world. Well done them (if they do it!). Promises to keep.

Trusting that they will, today’s Wine of the Week is the rustic, complex and deftly spiced 2020 Society’s Claret (£6.95, visit or telephone 01438-741177). This vibrantly aromatic, brilliant ruby-coloured drop has a rich, smoky palate, full of forest berry and black cherry flavours alongside backnotes of vanilla and dry tannins. Should be an ideal match to a hearty chorizo, leek and butterbean casserole on a cool Autumn evening.

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An Occasional Tipple With Raymond Gleug

M&S claim to have been the the first major retailer to reach carbon neutral status back in 2012 and, like the Wine Society, have ambitious targets in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. So, let’s give them a plug too. From the M&S Found range which champions lesser known grape varieties made by growers who employ sustainable practices, the elegant, zesty and reassuringly complex 2020 Ribolla Gialla (£7) is a perfect match to seafood or salads. This easy-drinking, Italian wine is yellowish (gialla means yellow) in colour and full of citrus and peach flavours alongside floral aromatics before a lingering, deeply satisfying finish.

Of course, it’s easy for big companies to make outlandish promises which may, as the great philosophers say, only amount to blah blah blah when there are miles, miles and even harder miles to go before we can safely sleep. One thing we can all do is to help is to shop local which may sometimes cost a few pence extra ( we all must share the pain) but which generally involves using companies who have a much smaller carbon footprint than the big retail behemoths.

Today’s final selection is the rustic, opulent and vibrantly aromatic 2019 Purato Nero d’Avola (generally £8.99 from local off-licences and wine merchants). A full-bodied yet delicately spiced Sicilian red, brimfull of ripe, concentrated cherry and blackberry flavours alongside notes of black pepper and coriander before a lengthy, deeply satisfying and very savoury finish which will go very nicely with pizza or tomato-based pasta dishes.

Speaking of tomatoes, our darling neighbour, Mrs Wilson, recently complained to my beloved wife, the illustrious Madame G., that no matter what she tried her tomatoes remained stubbornly green while the ones grown at our lovely home, Rose cottage, were consistently a luscious red. My Madame told her the secret of her success: tomatoes can see in the dark, she told her, go out into your garden after midnight and take all your clothes off- the wee tomatoes will be so embarrassed that they’ll blush and turn bright red.

The next day my Madame checked in to see how our neighbour had got on. Alas, she said, her tomatoes were still green but on the plus side her cucumbers were now several inches longer. Boom boom! Not all promises are made to be kept! Keep their feet to the fire. And till next week, tipplers, be clean, be green, save the world any way you can and sante!

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