We are now well into the holidays and I have just picked up a text message from a friend whose nine-year-old son has just won two bottles of wine on a tombola whilst on holiday. I am not entirely sure of the legalities there (bottles went direct to parents, clearly) but I have to say that he’s the sort of child that I need to spend more time with.
[The parents joy didn’t end there; the other offspring won a meal for four at their favourite restaurant in a drawing competition in the same afternoon].
I, on the other hand, never win anything. It’s a standing joke that no matter how many competitions I enter or raffle tickets I buy, I am never the first out of the hat.
Sometimes — in one of those raffles that has an inordinate number of terrible prizes and where I have bought 438 tickets — my number gets called when the remaining choices of prizes are something like of a packet of razors, or a dusty bottle of Liebfraumilch.
Don’t laugh. I must have half a dozen ‘won wines’ in the garage that I have accepted graciously and wondered why the part of me that is always losing, forgetting and breaking things is so frustratingly absent when I really, really need it.
It is not always the case that wine prizes are duffers — especially when the other half is the recipient. Rory McIlroy he is not but that didn’t stop him coming back from some golf do the other week with a couple of bottles of Rosemount Shiraz 2009 (£7.45 www.pauladamsfinewines.co.uk) that we drank over the weekend. It’s benchmark Ozzie Shiraz; laden with rich, sweet, hedgerow fruits and soft chewy tannins.
Waitrose Wine sells the Rosemount Shiraz/Grenache (£7.59) and I find this just as attractive and — dare I say it — an ideal wine for grilled BBQ meats (should the rain stay away long enough to let the coals get warm).
And then there’s the English sparkling Chapel Down 2004 Pinot Reserve Brut (£23.95 www.bbr.com) that was first prize on a lad’s go-karting outing and which was squirreled away for a wee while, but which I finally got a hold of a few days ago. It is a stonking glass of fizz and, by English standards, a very good price for the quality. The red fruits are nicely expressed and I particularly like the toasted brioche notes that linger on the palate.
The only vinous prize that I was truly pleased with was a vine that I won having successfully completed a vine-growing quiz at a winery in France. It was some time ago now and I brought it home (illegally, as it turned out) to our Oxfordshire garden where it did surprisingly well and fed the birds for many years and was still going strong when we moved.
It seems that if I want to win something to drink, I’m going to have to get sporty . . .
The odds on that are not great so it looks as though getting that kid to the nearest tombola is my best shot!