Meteorologists say there is a 75 per cent chance that 2014 will be the warmest year since records began in 1772.
While this is potentially catastrophic news for the future of our planet, there’s an upside. We’ve all probably saved a few quid on our heating bills.
I know I was pleasantly surprised when I checked the oil tank today and found it was still more than half full. Like my glass. Hurrah! What to spend all this extra dosh on? Why, some fine wine to jolly the festivities along!
Let’s start off with some bubbly for our aperitifs. Step forward the fabulously fresh, fragrant and racy 2011 Society’s Celebration Cremant de Loire (£11.50 from The Wine Society, visit www.thewinesociety or telephone 01438-741177).
A delicate, dry palate where sharp citrus flavours mingle with sweeter notes of pear, peach and quince leads to a tingly finish with beguiling hints of honey. One for all your retro prawn cocktails that are so deservedly back in vogue.
Perhaps you’re planning to have steaks or beef for your main course this year, in the modern style? If so, the superbly balanced, supple and wonderfully complex 2008 Chateau Haut de la Becade (£16.99, Lidl) should fit the bill. Deliciously dark and decadent notes of cherry and plum jostle for attention on its intensely fruity palate before subtle hints of oak and spice enliven its magnificently lengthy finish.
Alternatively, the opulently rich, sumptuously smooth and subtly spiced 2005 Lopez de Haro (£8.25, The Wine Society) will be an ideal match for anyone tucking into game, duck or goose. Elegant and structured, this bright, ruby-coloured Spanish red is full of cherry and blackberry flavours alongside backnotes of lick-your-lips liquorice before a peppery, oaky finish.
At this time of year we tend to overdo it on the sweet stuff. Whether it’s mince pies, Christmas cake or Grandma’s trifle, the plump, juicy and refreshing 2012 Society’s Exhibition Sauternes (£9.95, The Wine Society) will make for a delicious alternative to port or sherry. Versatile enough to enjoy with salty cheese, this sweet, rich and very long dessert wine is stacked with layers of juicy pineapple and apricot flavours which mingle happily with strands of nut and honeysuckle.
If you can’t stand the heat (and we can’t) you really should get out of the kitchen (and we must) which is why I’m planning to invest the pennies I’ve saved on the oil in space exploration. “Fly me to the moon, fly me to the stars,” I merrily whistle. Ah, but how will our grapes perform on Jupiter or Mars? That’s what worries me. Still, it can hardly be much colder in space than it is outside today. Brrr! Warmest year ever? Pah, never trust a meteorologist! Till next week, tipplers, sante!