OK, Lady A, consider yourself dumped. I spent a couple of days pondering it, the main question being: sure, it was good, but did I like it? Really, I knew the answer the first moment I tasted it. I’m glad I did (taste it, I mean), but really, I wouldn’t want to again.
The final nail in Lady A’s coffin came last night, when I uncorked this, a wine that strives not simply for complexity, as if for its own sake, but for beauty. Without wishing to give myself away as some kind of vinous jonny-come-lately, I’ve not had a huge number of chenin blancs in my time. Indeed until this summer I had no idea of the heights that it can reach at such decent prices. But first the FMC, and now this … it’s a game-changer, really. The FMC cost £13.49 in the Waitrose sale, this £13.86, 37 pence between them. These are two prize fighters competing in the same division, punch for delicious, delicate punch: new world (that) v old (this); 15-year-old vines (this) v 35-year-old (that); honey and dried apricot (that) v searingly, tingly bright acidity (this, with 6.10g/l residual sugar v the FMC’s 12.8). Don’t ask me to judge between them, it’s like comparing The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy with The Godfather Part II. They’re just amazing, both of them. But this one’s biodynamic, as well – she’s got the ethics as well as the looks. She’s a stunnah, true enough.
More like this, please. Much more.
I’ve had a bad wine year, I think. If I try to think of my wine of the year so far, and we’re near as dammit halfway through it so I should have had some good ones by now, there’s just nothing that stands out. Lots of decent stuff, sure. Plenty of mild, gentle pleasure. But no stars.
This is stellar stuff. It’s not just liquid inside this bottle, it’s hope, it’s fun, it’s life. It’s the reason I don’t just buy wine and drink it, but read about it, obsess about it, invest my money and my mind in it. It’s the reason why I shouldn’t just keep buying that £6 wine that I really like but keep looking, keep pushing my boundaries and my budget.
It’s a loveable wine. Voluptuous. We first tried it last year, at a charity dinner at a South African restaurant in town called High Timber. It was good. So I bought a bottle in the Waitrose 25% off everything sale (where it’s £17.09 currently, with no discount), and since then it’s been sat in my wine rack, waiting for a special occasion. Today – eating a salad in the garden with my wife and some sunshine – was special enough.
It tastes of so much. It sits in your mouth, brassy and bold, caressing it from the inside, daring you to swallow. It’s honeydew and nectarine and all things nice. I couldn’t afford to only drink £17 wines, but £17 isn’t really so much money for something that’s so much better than everything that costs less, really. Delicious. Brilliant.
I may have been a little over-effusive in this post. Sorry.