Are you not ashamed? Or do your resolutions not start until next week? Well, dear drinkers, you are not alone. I myself am waiting for Monday to bid farewell to the holiday indulgences and say my affectionate farewell to 2021, a year that has been described to me by one friend as bizarre and by another as unheard of. And so I asked myself, is the ordinary the opposite of weird and, if so, what is ordinary? Not much more ordinary than love, life, or death, is it? And isn’t each year unique? Just me?
To help (or maybe insist?) To keep my own New Years resolutions, my darling wife, the dreaded Madame G., kindly locked the wine cellar of our lovely home, Rose Cottage, and hid the key in a very private location. Nonetheless, my livelihood forces me to continue to lead all the reprobate wine lovers who can still concoct the price of a small swallie towards elegant bottles. And not just any old wine – today I’m making the gongs for the best wines I’ve tasted in 2021, nothing weird or unprecedented. Of course, didn’t they call 2020 unprecedented too? Drum roll, maestro!
Best red wine (under Â£ 10): the elegant, superbly balanced and deliciously tangy ChÃ¢teau Les Rambauds 2019 (Â£ 9, M&S). Lots of ripe raspberry and plum flavors on its rich and intriguing palate before a smooth, lingering finish. A Malbec to sip slowly and savor. Smoky, supple and delicately spiced, this sophisticated mid-bodied Bordeaux is bursting with densely concentrated flavors of black berry, black cherry and cassis that jostle for attention alongside subtle earthy spices before a deeply satisfying finish with hints of blackberry. black pepper notes. An exceptionally versatile drop that will go very well with slightly spicy meat dishes.
Best white wine (under Â£ 10): the fiercely crunchy, fabulously fresh and creamy 2020 Saleta Moscatel Sauvignon Blanc (Â£ 7.25, Wine Society, visit www.thewinesociety.com or call 01438-741177). An extravagant floral bouquet leads to a lively palate, full of citrus and orchard fruit flavors before a crisp and refreshing finish. One for simple trout or salmon and a bit of winter sun to brighten up those tough, tough days.
Best sparkling wine (under Â£ 10): the incredibly crisp, complex and reassuring Valdobbiadene Allini Conegliano Superiore Prosecco (Â£ 7.99, Lidl). This effervescent Italian sparkle welcomes you with captivating floral aromas before a richly textured palate that is bursting with tangy berry fruits and slightly more pronounced citrus flavors. I know that probably doesn’t mean as much to manufacturers as this award does, but it should be noted in passing that it was also named the world’s best prosecco at this year’s World Sparkling Wine Awards. To be enjoyed with canapes.
You’ll notice that all of today’s recommendations cost less than Â£ 10 (don’t worry, the rich, it’s our turn next week). This is because I am aware of the fact that so many little people can very well be desperately skinned after getting through the devastating Christmas spending on what for many has been drastically reduced income. Maybe the only reason you’re still drinking is to distract yourself from the horrible misery of your dire financial situation. And the fact that there is nowhere to go and not much else to do – shops, bars, restaurants, and even the doors of friends and family’s homes all have signage. ‘warning – enter at your own risk, etc. Sorry to remind you, but these are some really weird times. Unpublished, some say. Now I wonder if I should put on a tie and a nice shirt and if I could persuade my Madame to reveal the location of this cellar key. See you next week, drinkers, health!