Perhaps I am the Messiah; it can certainly feel that way at seven o’clock in the evening and I regard the barren, desiccated waste that is my January. But like the man from Beth’lem I have resisted Lucifer’s calls and my January has remained dry. Of course, it’s not the first time, it’s not even really an effort and the lofty view from the moral high ground affords some sensational relief from the sheer boredom. And just think of that plump, pink pre-adolescent liver so promised by The Sunday Times, so many years ago!
This year saw a couple of extra spices thrown in to the mix, with a water slewn dinner party (me only) and a whole day’s tasting at the WSET school in London. I suppose that zealots might argue osmosis, but I spat, I spat and I spat, washed down with plenty of water. It also gave my best result on a blind tasting exam yet…if only I had the courage of my convictions and had put Malbec instead of hedging Merlot. Always trust your instincts.
In an effort to train my nose, I have taken out the gimmicky and expensive “Nez du Vin”, 54 tiny bottles of the essential aromas picked up in wine. Sniffing each blind and randomly, I am beginning to recognize each more easily; the next challenge to recognise them a mix and allocate reasons for each: primary, secondary and tertiary. Where, when and why.
And so I have rather complicated my 2019 plans already as I voluntarily threw myself, six months after the rest, into the huge Unit 3 syllabus of still wines of the world. Valettelina anyone? Or perhaps its sfurzato variant? Or the five different, and qualitatively disparate zones of Minervois…It’s hotting up, and until the first of February I can neither reward my curiosity with a taster or anything, or one just simply calm my nerves.
But then with regard to the disinterest I was feeling in wine on 31st December, a palate less jaded will be a palate refreshed indeed.