I am on a ‘stay-in-Britain’ extended-family one-week holiday. Just before you think ‘ah, how nice’, be aware that I arrived in a two-seater sports car, mindful that come the time when I need to escape there will be limited space for hangers on.
Two-seater sports cars don’t have large boots and it took some creative packing to bring along a mixed case of wines to see me (us, I suppose!) through the next seven days.
I’ve included some 1998 2nd Growth Claret, vintage Vouvray (sweet and dry), New World Shiraz, German Riesling and some English sparkling; not a bad offering, even if I do say so myself.
Still, I am wide-awake at half five in the morning (the youngest generation in the room next door having been particularly vocal in announcing the arrival of their new teeth during the night) wondering how unseemly it would be to run into the kitchen and bring the wines to stash in the bedroom.
Last night, I was offered a chunky Malbec as an aperitif and was then expected to move on to white sparkling as we sat down to eat and then revert back to Loire red after that.
I know I sound awful and ungrateful but it’s a bit like eating the chocolates your guests bring as a thank you before you’ve had your first bite of something savoury.
On this holiday you’ve got to get in quick though! Turn down a glass and I can guarantee that there won’t be so much as a thimbleful left if I fancy reverting to it later in the evening.
What if the Shiraz goes on offer before the Riesling? What will I sacrifice?!
The spicy, rich red will linger long on the palate and deny the Riesling its chance to shine.
I am afraid the decision has been made; it’s off to the kitchen for me to swipe the wine in order that I can control distribution to ensure optimal appreciation.
I am, I realise a hideous, slightly snobbish vinous control-freak. Oh dear.
Let me be clear that there’s nothing wrong with kick-starting a meal with a glass of red; I’ve done it plenty of times myself but typically once I’m on the red I stick with it until I may have a glass of something sweet if it’s on offer at the finish.
Some of my favourite pre-prandial reds include the New Zealand Te Mata Woodthorpe Gamay 2010 (£11.50 www.thewinesociety.com).
A fragrant, light-bodied red with crunchy red fruits that drinks as nicely slightly chilled as it does at room temperature. A slightly quirkier but fun option is the Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Shiraz (currently on offer at Tesco’s for £45.54 for six bottles www.tesco.wine/com) that’s a slightly sweet, very juicy fizzy bomb!
For everyone either on — are heading to — a family holiday, have fun and remember to leave enough space in the boot for at least a bottle, or two.