A Day Without Sunshine

It was, of course, a Frenchman who said that “A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.” If an Englishmen had uttered the quote it’s meaning would have altered: far too many English days are overcast without site of sun and until recently too little wine was drunk in the Sceptered Isle. To quote Jane Austen: “There is not the hundredth part of the wine consumed in this kingdom that there ought to be. Our foggy climate wants help ”

In California, the sun shines without fail from late Spring to early Autumn and for as many days as not for the rest of the year. Living as we do within a few minutes drive of vineyards in a state where duty on wine is 20c (30p) a gallon, I drink often of the vine. I would not want my failure to reach for a bottle to curse the weather.

Today we went to our favourite bistro which shares a site with a wine tasting room for Vezer vineyards. I purchased a glass of 07 Zin to go with lunch. The vintner offered me a taste of 07 Cab and then poured the same into a glass with an indent. Swirling the same wine in the two glasses opened up a very different nose.

Having finished lunch, the vintner came out and asked us if we would like to join her and another party in the barrel room to taste from the barrel. I accepted and passed the car key to my wife. First we had the Petite Syrah; a few sips of that was a little overwhelming compared to the more mature versions. The vintner then added Zin, which improved the taste. A slash of Late Harvest Zin was added and the nose became a rich explosion of fruit, and the taste near sublime.

Afterwards, the four people who were total strangers until we entered the tasting room invited us to join them at our table, where five of us finished our glasses from the tasting room, a bottle of Zin, and a bottle of Cab Two of them live just round corner from our house. We will be meeting them again next Saturday for a concert at the tasting room. Good wine tastes even better when it offers the possibility of new friends.

Published in: on 1 August, 2010 at 14:37  Leave a Comment