Updated: Aug 10
I write this on the verge of departing for the UK, where apart from eating Toad in the Hole, Spotted Dick, and drinking a few pints of ale and a glass or two of great British bubbly, Vanessa and I are getting married. After popping the question in Paris, and with a little persuasion, a positive answer was forthcoming. Then Covid hit! I therefore have been on best behavior for the last two years and can finally take a breath when she says ‘I do’ in a little 1,600-year-old church in Dorset where my family comes from. There is a wonderful inevitability when you know you are going to ask someone to marry you – you have no choice, it has to be done.
In another sense, but similar way, when I am tasting wine, I know straight away whether I am going to say yes to making the selection for you chaps. The wine just grabs my senses like that first look across the room when lightning strikes. This week's wines both had that wonderful effect.
This wine sent sparks through me the moment I sipped it. It is like a thoroughbred out of the blocks at Royal Ascot, racy and brisk but then settles into a wonderful long run with a great finish. Lots of tart apricots and the tiniest hint of honey and then a punch of guava. All packaged up in a wonderful basket of minerals and acidity. I just love sipping and savoring this wine on its own on a lazy afternoon; it just makes everything tick. On the food side, you can match it with any charcuterie and cheese, or any style of pork. Our local butcher makes these spicy pork and mango sausages. So tasty just cut up hot off the BBQ and served to friends.
This is a new vintage of a wonderful wine from Sicily, the beautiful island off Italy dominated by the Mount Etna volcano. Made from Nero d’Avola and Frappato, this wine really does taste like the rich volcanic soils and rock the vineyards are planted on. Dried raspberries and figs abound amid the earthiness. Try crisping up a little prosciutto and garlic breadcrumbs to sprinkle over a risotto, then pour yourself a glass of this to wash it down.
In short, these really are two fascinating wines worthy of starting a relationship with. Don’t be shy, you never know what might happen!