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Entry one

I am determined our wine tastings should continue in some form or other even if it’s impossible for the ten of us, making up our wine group, to meet in the flesh due to ongoing restrictions. I am determined not to let the dreaded virus get in my way. Since our get-togethers involve both food and wine I’ll need to figure out if it’s possible at all. I usually get my best (and worst) ideas when I am half asleep at dawn. I’ll go to bed early tonight and see what happens.

Entry two

This morning I still had no clear ideas re the wine group tasting. Hopefully inspiration will come my way soon.

Entry three

Today I took delivery of some white Portuguese wines. We had been reminiscing about a white wine from Alentejo we loved when we were students. Unfortunately, we can’t remember what it was called. Looking at some of my old wine tasting notes from that era for wines still available today, like Tondonia Rioja and the like, they appear to be pretty accurate so perhaps my recollection of that long-ago white from Portugal might be true and not just my memory gilding the past. On that basis I ordered some white Portuguese wines at random. Mostly inexpensive ranging from £7.50 to £12.50. Fish is on the menu tomorrow at home. I’ll open one of the bottles and see what’s it like. It’s my job to cook fish in our household.  Ill be cooking steamed bream with steamed carrots, fennel and straw potatoes by Martin Wishart, the well-known Michelin Star chef. It’s really is a stunning and simple dish. The potatoes and vinaigrette makes this dish come alive. I enclose a video link below for anyone interested.

www.youtube.com/watch?v=vsggcoPyTQc

Entry Four

This morning, I went into my small wine room where I keep coming across wines I can’t remember having seen before. This is good and bad as not knowing what wines I have I risk leaving wines too long well past their ideal drinking window. So far it’s not happened, leading me to believe the ‘drink by’ dates by wine critics should be taken with a pinch of salt. Last week I came across a bottle of Momo Pinot Noir 2008 from New Zealand. It was £11 when I bought it and should have been drunk ten years ago according to the critics. Well it turned out to be quite stunning. Wish I had more.

Entry five

We had our first bottle (well, half the bottle as we try and limit our drinking on the basis that if we do, we can have wine with our meals most days!) of Portuguese white wine with our bream. The wine is Monte Velho 2019. I can’t remember when we had such a young wine. It was reminiscent of grapefruits and quite sharp which was far from unpleasant with the fish. Considering its £7.50 price tag, it’s not bad. Being so young I suspect that when we drink the other half bottle tomorrow it will have improved considerably.

It turned out to be quite stunning. Wish I had more.

Entry six

Still no inspiration this morning of how to organise a wine tasting and dinner for ten with current restrictions. As I suspected the Monte Velho was a different wine today. What an improvement! Goes to show it’s could do with another year in bottle. Drinking 2019 wine now, of any ilk, doesn’t make sense. Wine needs time. Some more than others of course. Storing wine in Gib is difficult if you haven’t a wine fridge. Anything above 18°C or so will kill wine.

Entry seven

I am beginning to think I may have a way of holding my wine tasting for ten under the current COVID restrictions. Will consult with my better half over the next few days and see what she thinks. She’s usually more sensible and practical than I am.

Entry eight

Every few years I have bought a case of vintage port in the basis that when I am old and decrepit the wine should be in its ideal drinking window and will make me merry and help me reminisce about the glorious past! The other reason is that buying relatively young vintage port is relatively inexpensive for what’s after all world class wine.

Two years ago, I bought some Graham 2000. Since then, the price has dropped. So much for investing in wine!

Entry nine

All the critics are raving about Viña Ardanza 2010 Reserva Especial. I have recommended this wine before in this column. Today we tasted it for the second time. It’s very good. Buy before it runs out!

Entry ten

Today we had the other half bottle of Ardanza. It’s really is a good wine. It’s seems they only bring the Selección Especial on exceptional years and the 2010 is considered by the producer as the best in 77 years.

Entry eleven

Fearing I might have thrown away my favourite corkscrew I went into a mild panic. I spent ages looking for it and to my relief I eventually found it. It’s an ancient thing with a hefty wooden handle and proper screw. I bought it in the antiques shop opposite the courts in Main Street years ago. Modern corkscrews are not long enough, especially for fragile corks.

Entry twelve

Today, for some reason, I got more than my fair share of emails from wine merchants telling me about this or that wondrous wine. One of the merchants sent a round robin email thanking its customers for their trade during these difficult times. According to this merchant, trade has been like having Christmas every day. At least they are honest about it!

Entry thirteen

We’ve been baking our own bread since March. Wholemeal. When we tried to go back to supermarket bread, we didn’t feel right so we’ve kept going. Now we just make rolls as they have a better crust ratio. We freeze them and take out whatever we need for the day.

Entry fourteen

We bought a bottle of La Ina sherry. I’ve always thought this sherry is very good. Wonderful flavour and great acidity. We had some boquerones en aceite and some olives with the sherry. Sherry is definitely the most underrated wine in the world.

Sherry is definitely the most underrated wine in the world.

Entry fifteen

I have decided to go ahead with the wine tasting. I have bought aluminium containers much as one gets in Chinese takeaways for the food. I have also bought 90 small, glass bottles with screw caps. Luckily, they were not expensive at all. Everyone will get a starter, a main course and cheese. They will also get 10 small bottles of wine. They will not know what the wines are. One of the group, more tech savvy than the rest of us, has arranged so we can eat and drink via an online link – Zoom.

Entry sixteen

Our online tasting went very well. Everybody came round to pick up their parcels, which I had left outside for them. They had enough time time to get back home and heat the stew and potatoes. The whole thing was very successful, though quite hard work. My favourite wines were two ancient Brunellos de Montalcino – one from 1975 and the other from 1978.  I had bought these on Catawiki for 20 euros each. Regretfully, since the pandemic started,  prices for auction wine on this site have  gone through the roof.

Entry seventeen

I’ve been thinking what we could celebrate tomorrow as I am in dire need of a glass or two of champagne which I haven’t had for some time. Much as I racked my brains, I couldn’t think of anything in particular. I’ll open a bottle anyway. raving about Viña Ardanza 2010 Reserva Especial. I have recommended this wine before in this column. Today we tasted it for the second time. It’s very good. Buy before it runs out!

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