Life is in indeed both Fragile! and Strange! as are bottles of wine, and for that matter their contents when badly, or wrongly handled and cellared.

This last month has been a right old ‘B’ of a month, on many levels, for me. The three ‘B’s being:

First ‘B’, on the 29th of March, it would appear, I was the only person in the world to leave (BxT) the dam EU thingy. A month later, today, I have not heard differently and I am still wondering when I will receive my new passport and my new sense of self or have we all gone binary mad?  Is everything okay up there? Or has every one just gone woke? (Yes indeed, I am learning a while new vocab.) I have no doubt that we are all in good hands as usual. I can remember when we went into the dam project in the first place, and were all promised easy border transfer of goods, wine in my case, and less taxes and lesser paperwork would be the benefit. Wrong as usual, as within weeks of Maggie’s signature we were all paying more tax and the paperwork had tripled in quantity. Palate sizes had changed and bottle contents were sealed at 75cl full stop. Sure I got a new passport, this was a little red European edition and everyone got to know a bit more about the fair isle. Sorry, was there a problem? Okay, not to be continued, I am falling asleep.

Henri Jayer’s 1995 Vosne-Romanee
Henri Jayer’s 1995 Vosne-Romanee

Secondly, two of my most treasured bottles of red Burgundy were broken in transit last week. Irreplaceable of course, and enough said, I just still cannot believe it. I am to say pretty peed off about the whole thing. Not to be continued, all so boring you could not make this up.

The third ‘B’, last friday evening I went to a local Burgundy tasting, and from the list of wines being touted on the invitation by the professional wine merchant (photo*) here, I was seriously looking forward to it. Anything to rid oneself of the dreaded Malbec-malaise that we suffer down here. I even bothered to take my own favorite Zalto Burgundy beaker with me to fully appreciate the occasion. Out of the seven wines being poured, there was actually a preview Pinot Noir from Rio Negro (abominable) which makes it 8 wines. Of the seven Frenchies here, one of them was so far gone I could not even sip it, the nose said it all. I am still not really understanding why it was even poured out in the first place. But there we go. I could only hear the local connoisseurship gulping and oozing, ooeoing over it and it’s 2002 label, so I felt it best just to shut up and let dead dogs lie. Two other bottles were also peaked/spiked. This in my world means that they were burnt up and had nothing to really show for their pedigree. Drinkable just, but appalling very badly stored wines indeed! The remaining three wines were okay. One was a lovely surprise, Monsieur Dujac’s (albeit Fils & Pere and NOT Domaine, as if anyone down here rearly cares about that anyway) 2002 Morey Saint-Denis and the two Volnays from d’Angerville, the 1999 being the most extraordinary of the two. I will now hunt down younger vintages of the Dujac. I can recommend to you on keeping an eye out on this one before the price sky rockets, which it will undoubtedly do given the style, weight and purity of fruit from a wine with nearly 20 years of age on it, at a still reasonable price for great Burgundy.

A selection of Burgundy's
A selection of Burgundy’s

Well, where does this leave me? quite frankly feeling just a little bit peeved. I am still in need of a decent glass of red Burgundy and also the thought of two historical bottlings of Henri Jayer’s 1995 Vosne-Romanee (purchased direct from him when he was still alive of course) swishing around in the back of a white-van somewhere in the home counties of Surrey/Hampshire? does absolutely nothing for my sense of well being. The Burgundy tasting, attended by people and put on by professionals who should all know better, does nothing for my sense of confidence in other taster’s palates or organisational integrity, palatial ability or financial. But then again who the hell am I. I had stupidly presumed that if one is going to a rare wine tasting of any sort of wine, especially good red Burgundy that the attendees do actually have some knowledge of what they are tasting. I mean, a little would surfice. Alas!

So dear reader, how are you getting on? I am finding these days all a bit strange, as you have read, so if you are also on the cusp, I do have a recommendation, both vinous and vinously-spiritual. Not of course following the advice of an old Euro-client that went by the name of Leon Great-Brittan MP, who bought cases of our NV Champagne, back in the day to celebrate and never actually came back to pay for them, and neither did that awful Royal gardner fellow, Roddy Llewelyn. Charlatans both of them and both huge benefiters of the 1975 project. But I would now reach deep here, and go into the annals of the Irish dramatist. ”Well we are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking up at the stars”. This helps me a lot.

And now for the purely vinous of us all looking for some respite, ”Well, to live is the rarest thing in the world and yet to drink great red Burgundy is even rarer”, and of course if it is great Burgundy it should smell like shit.(Thank you Antony Hanson MW, circa 1977)

Let’s just hope that this Mayful month, 2019, brings you some joy and spring into your good hearts, and for those of us entering these dark southern hemispherical Autumnal nights, that the warmth and light of our loved ones, and good fresh soup keeps us glowing in the face of such Malbec and world mediocrity. I found a special offer of Tempranillo (de La Mancha, oh yeah Castillo a la Don Q.) in the local offy last week and  I bought the lot. I still cannot get on very well with this grape variety but my goodness it puts the hi-alcoholic Mendocian fruit juice to shame. What is so interesting about Tempranillo? If you can help out on this one, my email is the same as usual.

See you in Haro sometime in the future or in the next 12 months then!

‘Nulli Secundus’