Drinking Outside The Box

With Simon Woods – wine for people who have a life

Day Nine – and I’m feeling…sober March 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm

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I mentioned yesterday about how my Big Brand Diet was diminishing the pleasure of evening meals. Another effect is that I’m drinking less. Wine writers have to watch their alcohol intake. Booze is always around, much of it extremely attractive, and most of us have learned the hard way – some faster than others – that it is not possible to finish every decent bottle that comes our way (for this, my family, friends, neighbours, couriers and anyone else who know me are often grateful).

But even when there aren’t several barely-touched bottles sitting there in Alice-In-Wonderland fashion shouting ‘Drink Me!’ there is still a problem. Some (some) health experts may say that a bottle of wine between two people is too much, but I’m not one of them. However, the temptation begins when that first bottle is empty, and there’s a sizeable part of the evening still ahead. Every once in a while, we break our unwritten ‘no-second-bottle’ rule – and usually regret it the morning after.

I’ve found no such temptation with the Big Brand Diet. Indeed, the only bottles that have been close-to-empty by the end of the evening have been Jacob’s Creek Shiraz and Pinot Noir/Chardonnay fizz. Judging by the first sniffs of tonight’s duo, that isn’t about to change.

Hardy’s VR Sauvignon Blanc 2006, South Eastern Australia
Not that this is bad wine. It’s certainly an improvement on yesterday’s Merlot in the same range, although I’m curious why my local Sainsbury’s had this vintage of Sauvignon and a younger one of Merlot. But I like the pithy guava and citrus flavours, and the tangy finish. I imagine a 2007 would have had the zip that is missing here – it’s gone into a sort of lime-jelly-limbo – but I’m still going to finish the glass, if not the bottle.

Kumala Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon 2007, Western Cape
There are some terrific Cape Sauvignons around. This isn’t one of them. I can understand why someone has tried to knock off any gawky edges. Some of the wines in their youth are like sucking lemon-scented pebbles, and often need 18 months from vintage to show at their best. But in trying to make this more forward and friendly, any zippy, grassy appeal the wine once had has been submerged under a wave of creamy gloopiness. I’m going to try chilling it further to see if it improves, but I’m not holding our much hope.

PS Just had bad news. Jill has asked whether she can have a glass of something ‘nice and red’. Grenache and Pinot Noir are her preferred tipples, and neither grape features in my stash of Big Brands. Which means that she will be spending the evening with something tasty (no, I didn’t mean me…) while I will be sitting sipping soppy Savvy. Yawn.

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