Wine by the book

06 October 2017

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MY HOLIDAY reading on the Isles of Scilly this year included I’ve Bought It So I’ll Drink It (Metro), by CJ and PK. It is a collection of blogs, appearing under the title Sediment, by two wine-lovers, whose rather bizarre object appears to be to discover all the undrinkable wines on the market. These they describe eloquently — with a thesaurus close to hand, it would seem.

There are many interesting diver­sions. For example, it appears that the wines served at receptions at Lambeth Palace are a cut above those served at similar events at 10 Downing Street.

Of more interest to me, however, is a series of blogs on which is the ideal glass for drinking wine. Here, of course, the aristocrat is the Riedl range, but the starting price for these at John Lewis appears to be £45 for two, and this can making washing up after a well-watered dinner party an expensive affair. For better drinking, I have generally used a range from Dartington, but I see that John Lewis is selling these at the same price as Riedl.

What the bloggers settle on for everyday drinking is the Duralex Picardie six-sided tumbler (John Lewis, 75p), and I certainly feel that for about three-quarters of the wine I drink regularly this is more than adequate — and it is probably what the man who has produced the wine would probably use himself.

Glassware can be even more pre­tentious than the wine. For those, however, who like to see a tradi­tional wine glass on their table, but do not want to spend more on it than a bottle of wine, I would sug­gest the Royal Leerdam Bouquet range, which, I see, is available at £25.99, plus VAT, per dozen.

When choosing the wines to drink on holiday, I relied on sources that I do not usually use: The Wine Society (WS) and the website wineincornwall.co.uk (wic). The two red wines that I most enjoyed both came from the south of France. They were a Pic Saint Loup Les Calcaires Château de Cazeneuve 2014 (WS £11.95, now available from Waitrose at £14.99), with rich flavours coming through from its base on the Carignan grape; and the more mature Costières de Nîmes Château les Combettes 2012 (wic, £7.15), showing just how well such wines can develop. Also outstanding was Nerofino Rosso Vigneti delle Dolomiti Castel Firmian 2013 (WS, £8.75).

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Among the white wines, I tasted the D’Arenberg White Ochre 2016 (WS, £8.95) for the first time in many years. This is an enjoyable blend from a palette of grape-varieties from Chester Osborn, one of the outstanding winemakers in McLaren Vale, South Australia. An interesting oddity also came from Australia: Blind Spot King Valley Garganega 2016 (WS, £8.95). This contrasted with the crisp and rather austere Austrian Gruner Veltliner Wagram 2016 (wic £10.24).

My holiday gave me the oppor­tun­ity to taste some wines that were different, from the most basic of glasses. A good wine will shine through, no matter from what you serve it, however, and it will be the ideal accompaniment to a good book.

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