Well, after a rather chilly last weekend here, I told my very lovely girlfriend, VBLG, that like a good wine, boyfriends’ get better with age. So, she locked me in the cellar. And I am still here, yes there is a power socket in the wall, hence I am typing on the old machine that I have down here in storage, by good old fashioned candlelight* can you believe, as she has also turned off the lights from upstairs. Mm? Not so lovely. What on earth did I do to deserve this you ask? Let me help you with that one. Umm almost everything of course. But I do not know what everything is, as I thought, silly me, that everything was going rather smoothly. When will I learn? What was not planned or foreseen by both, or either of us, was that down here, two and half meters under ground, there is a corkscrew, and I can just remember where various bottles and styles of wines are kept. So I have scrambled around in the near pitch dark with my candle, and have found the remains of an old ‘waiter’s friend’, rather bent and twisted (a bit like me?), and an old Paris goblet (no Zaltos down here unfortunately) and have managed to gently pull out of the racks various Clarets that I have been meaning to taste for a while. Now, not really knowing how long I am down here for, and I will keep this as short as possible so that I can get on and taste, and probably drink myself into a forgiveness stupor, in this dark, musty dusty, and a little on the damp side, winecellar of ours.
The Paris goblet is probably a bit unused, in fact very unused as it has a little family of rare form of spider living in it, so it needs a good clean and rinse out. So I have opened a bottle of Villa Bel Air Blanc 2015, which is easy to find as it is the white wine sector. The cork pops like the angels are with me already. I swirl and clean the goblet, wipe it a bit with my handkerchief to give it a shine and head into repairing my very dry palate and take the first sip.
Wow! a delicious thyme, chive and verbena perfume lifts from the goblet and I am already feeling a little at home here. A bit. I sip and this young white Graves trickles over my palate with gooseberry and ripe green apple core. Totally refreshing on all levels. Funny, but when one of your senses (sight in my case) has been curtailed, the others (touch and taste) it would seem and logically, magnify to an extraordinary level. Much enhanced, especially the latter.
I think the next bottle that I reach for, reads Ch.Barbe Blanche, Lussac Saint Emilion from 2000 vintage. Again, quite a delicious red, Merlot intensity and dark fruits, intermingled with cedar and spice. It is remarkably balanced and rich, with a smooth silky texture and finish. I will have more of this later, and let it breath.
I have now decided that I will need at least four more wines to make this stretch out, as I really have no idea how long I am going to be down here for. So inspiration abounds and let’s do a village, geographical, Bordeaux tasting and compare each wine from the different villages, here in the cosy, silent safeness of my dark vinous hole in the ground.
Ouch! I nearly fall over a barrel, literally, as I grope around for something to match the St.Emilion. Ahhh, I have found a 2001 Graves, La Louviere, Pessac Leognan. Pop goes the weezle. I know it’s a red but I cannot give you a real description of it’s colour as I cannot see properly, dammit. I imagine however a deep plummish, purple red. The nose has cedar, smoked herbs, cherries, and black currants. My god this is becoming an almost religious experience. A soft medium body, super elegant, and has that purity of a stoney, well made Graves, that I really do adore. It is a good suprise, and much needed in this moment.
Not far from the Graves a bottle of Pomerol, a Ch.Neno, sorry I mean Nenin 2004 (my god it’s dark down here). Out comes the cork, sorry I broke it, but the second half of the cork came out in one so there are no crumbs floating, thank goodness. Wonderful, wonderful, sweet cherry fruit with kirsch undertones, on the nose. Ripeness on the Merlot, another medium bodied wine, yet firm and quite lovely.
Now, pondering a little. Do I crack on, or, do I start yelling for help. Well my tail is safely between my legs, so I think I will keep it there for a bit longer, as if I actually have an option, and crack on with my plan.
The next rack has all sorts in it and this is the darkest part of the cellar, even when the lights are on, so I am going to make a stab at it. I crawl back to the IBM, as a mixture of the screen glare and my candlelight, that only probably has a few hours left in it, are my sole eyes for now. Suprise suprise. Another 2004. I like that. This one says on the label, Ch.Sociando Mallet, of course from the Haut Medoc. Pop!
Tremendous, a big rich cassis nose, wet stone (maybe the humidity down here of course) and a touch of charcoal on the nose aswell. Powerful Cabernet on the palate and excellent acidity, all in balance with each other. It is almost still too young to drink, but then again after the Pomerol hit, this would be a little more astringent, don’t you think. Oh my God, I am starting to talk to myself now. (or is it to you? dear reader)
Okay listen. I am now feeling pretty comfortably numb down here, but just need an upper and then I think I have had enough booze to go into the ring with Sugar Ray L. and not feel a tickle. However, I am so in love with this woman, that I do feel that whatever the outcome I need to start making a little effort down here and find something that I can take with me when I get the chance to go back upstairs, if that ever happens at all. God only knows and he of course maybe the only who cares now. Or can care. I am a little pointed towards the wind. But I do need something to share with my VBLG, that only Claret and some other special wines in the world can do. Glue us back together that is. (Oh shit did I really say that?)
I am now fondling, please find another word William, wooden cases, desperatly trying not to get a splinter in my softly soft paws. Ah haaaa. There is a wooden lid not sealed. What is this I ask myself? Scramble, scramble and ouch. There is a large, sharp and rusty nail protruding from the case and yes it has gone into my pinky. Oh well, no blood yet, as I cannot taste any. I just hope it’s not going to give me gangreen or the like. More importantly, even though my finger is throbbing a little, I remove the wooden dividers inside the case and feel around to find something majestic. A quality glass bottle. Slightly heavier than the previous ones, and i go for it. This could be a serious one. Back in the light zone I can now read 1997 Ch.Leoville Barton. Bang on. This could not get any better. It makes life worth living. Infact I could say my ‘desert island’ Bordeaux village, Saint Julien. It could have been a Langoa, as both were purchased ‘En Primeur’ back in the day. But I can tell you, that I am very happy indeed now. This will be the last one today, tonight, this morning. Nothing can improve in this moment. Do you know I have absolutly no idea what the time is. Is it day or is it night? And who gives a F anyway. I am here, I am drinking good Claret. The world is my world now and not bloody anybody elses. Let’s continue until I drop? Or need the bathroom. Back to the proper stuff. On the nose. Dense dense dense density of a top Claret. Shlurrrp. mmmmm, some spice and sweetish fruit. Soft, yet solid tannins. A hint of wood with lashings of plumish, dark berry fruits. I am now preverbaly happily fucked. And the thought of bathroom, is making me now want to go almost, urgently. I had not taken this matter into consideration until now. Does one ever? Maybe a cool glass of water would be nice too. How ironic is that. You need to pee and drink water at the same time. Oh no this is going to be unbearable if I do not straighten up a bit.
All done, glass down, corks are back in the bottles so that the spidery family does not make a new home in my Bordeaux. So I blow out the stump of the candle. And I start to listen out for sounds of life up there. I cannot hear any footsteps at all, and I cannot hear any sign of life, and I am now getting the feeling that this could be my last bugga bloggy blog for a while, if not forever. But I am going to need to go for a pee sooner or later. There is no bucket or loo, there is no telephone or cellphone down here, to cry for help, there is no internet connection, the machine is an old IBM Postman Pat type, with ‘Prince of Persia’ and ‘Space Invaders” taking up most of the megabyte space. The fun has now worn off a bit, suddenly. I gently find the wobbly wooden staircase to creek my way back up to the cellar door. Without causing any further undue, I hope, accidents, bashes or leakages. I get to the top of the stairway to heaven, and fumble for the little round brass door knob. Ahh, found it. I turn it with a sense of hopelessness, it wobbles and turns and the door opens with great ease. Whattttttttt!!!!!! The light of day blinds me a little and confuses my sense of place and quite frankly how have I got msyefl into this situation in the first place. Where the hell am I? Who am I? Where is the one that I adore. Shut up Willy, bathroom, bathroom quickly. That’s better now.
Gathering my blurry thoughts. Things are making more sense. I think? a bit. I find the clock in the kitchen, 18.25hs, and I have only probably been down there for two and half, three hours. It is still day time, well the end of it, and I can hear noises outside the sound of people laughing. That’s good. I like the sound of other people laughing heartedly, not chuckling. But before I go and join the joy. I would like to share with you one final thing, before I fully rediscover who I am and what on earth is going on here.
The essential candlelight that kept me alive, well okay let’s call it ‘kept me going’ down there, and going pretty strongly I might add with this ‘very-blind tasting’, almost. Maybe something left over from childhood, who knows, but I always have a candle on hand somewhere in the house. Still do. In this case down there in the cellar, stuck into the neck of an old bottle of something that is now so covered in wax we do not really know of it’s origin. Like a waxy knickerboccaglory covering the glass. And of course, and almost more importanly a box of matches, DRY! very dry indeed. I learned this trick years ago, when I asked an old friend. A World War One veteran, what was it like in the trenches of Flanders? He told me very little except that it was quite simply, pure hell. My life has always been a lot more full of gratitude since then, I can tell you. So I asked him, what could have been a form of luxury (not realy the right word under the circumstances) but something that made the moment more special and a sense of we are going to get through this only like human beings can in that moment of hellishness. Sure, the term luxury has changed into a banal form of glitzy Hollywood fad, if that’s what we could call it for now, as I am sure you know what I am driving at here dear reader (are you still with me?).
Anyway, consider this. Under all those horrific, wet, rat infested, bombarded, death like casms in the ground, that his reply was more than a suprise for me. For words sake, his biggest luxury was, simply a box of DRY MATCHES.
Of course! With all that mud and rain and blood and horror going on, If one could not even light a cigarette or a tobacco pipe, then there was little hope left for humanity. They could even keep there dignity with a little tobacco and of course to light a stove to heat up some coffee or a soup before going over the top. It must have been bloody hell down there. My home cellar experience does not cut the mustard with this. But thank god for the dry matches. Dear Reader, have you ever tried lighting a match on a damp match box, or even just a slightly damp match box? And I know you know what I mean here, so I don’t need to go into it any more than I have done already.
One little bit more that I did not feel so comfortable about mentioning, sharing with you here. But as this is saving me an arm and my dam leg on psycoliga apointment fees. I will go one step further, sorry, and then wrap up.
When i had gathered my senses and came out of the bathroom, much relieved and fresh faced. I noticed a small shambles in the dining room. Afterall the door was wide open. Upon the shiny, overpolished mahogany dining table there was an empty bottle of Petrus just sitting there. I was so shocked to see the bottle that I did not even bother to look a the vintage. Used dinner plates and the secenery of an exravagant meal for TWO! My curiosity lead me to investigate further and with some suspicion, of course. Nobody drinks Petrus in our house, we don;t have any. A Petrus, a dinner set for two and used by two. And I was not present? The sort of romantic dinner for me and MVLG. Yet, I was not present at this feast. Why not? Well Will cos you were downstairs in the cave getting drunk on good Claret, that’s why. Even the delcious after smell of a Beef Wellington and horse raddish sauce, lingers gentlyin the air. Lashings of Sorrel gravy and freshly roasted potatoes, waft around my nostrels. Yum. My last supper request, should I ever find myself on ‘death row’. I now spy clothing on the floor, underwear, knickers, his and hers, trousers, tops, the lot. Oh my goodness, what has happened here? what has taken place in my dining room and who!? for Godsake.
I go into full suspicious mode of jealousy, greed and the need to murder someone. For the first time in hours I call out her name (oh shyte another rock music reference as if you had not picked up on the previous ones) and I am suddenly finding myself in my own hell. HELL! i tell you. The feminine clothing I do recognise (no I have not worn any, it’s hers) but not the other stuff. Grrrrrrr.
The aroma of cut wood from the cellar now dominates the flavour on my palate. And I now have one flavour dominant in my mouth. And it’s growing. It is called REVENGE. It is sour, bloody and has a need to be fulfilled. I move around the house like an astronaut on zero oxygen and a need for a quick fix. When suddenly I feel a blow on the head. Ouch, that hurts. My face is buried in the shag pile on the floor and I am dribbling. Oh God this is horrible. I cannot move, yet my senses are coming together somewhere near my head, who knows. Is my nose bleeding?
I gather myself together as well as I can, take a deep breath and begin to stand up. Knees first, strength to pull myslef up and look around the room. A bit wobbly and now here is the mysterious bit. I find myself in my pyjamas, my favourate Burgundy coloured ones, and I am in our bedroom. Bed used and a goofy me just standing there looking gob smacked and totally gormless. (What’s new in that?).
Oh God this has all been just a dam dream hasn’t it, a nightmare, a workings or unworkings of the subconcious. I breath deeply and smile. Thank god for that…..but what of the wines in the cellar? I tip toe down stairs as if everything is normal. MVLG is in the kitchen chatting away to chums over a cup of tea. I slip bare footed past the door to the cellar and turn the door handle. It is locked. My hand pianos its way to the upper left of the door frame where i keep the cellar key and place it into the lock. Click. I throw the light switch on. I go downstairs. Creeping carefully down the well trodden wooden steps into the damp fresh air and see all the open bottles of wine that I have told you about previously, and the goblet parked gently on the side of the barrel. Waiting for a top up.
Could this be the first ever sleep walked wine tasting? that I have been to, I doubt it. Could this be some bizaar dream state that I have conjured up? I doubt it. It is all too real. I was there. I drank those wines. I needed a pee. I was scared, I missed my woman. I can remember pulling the corks on all five? bottles. Breaking one cork and stabbing my thumb on a rusty nail, and I have a photograph to prove it.
How mysterious is this? I now need a rest and a cup of strong lemon tea, and obviously a breath of fresh air before going back to bed.
Sweet dreams are made of…