Saturday, 10 May 2014

I told you so

It's not that I'm an alcoholic, but I do enjoy a glass of wine with my evening meal.  Better still, a glass and a half.  That still leaves me under the recommended maximum daily intake of alcohol - except for those days when I go out after we've eaten and I might have another glass.  Or even, occasionally, two.  Despite all this consumption, I still have difficulty in agreeing with the over the top descriptions printed on the labels of wine bottles.  "Notes of gooseberry and lemon grass."  "Tropical fruits."  "Hints of cherry and nettles."  What a load of tosh!

Years ago, our local supermarket had a cafe which has since been removed and the space absorbed into more productive shelving.  Anyway, they held a series of wine tasting evenings which was attended by the old Bat and me along with a couple of neighbours.  the "expert" oenologist tried his best to get us to distinguish the subtle tones of the wines offered, but maybe our noses were just not up to scratch.  Whatever the reason, we none of us could smell or taste quite what he could.

I do know that there can be a tremendous difference in the taste of the really cheap wines and the most expensive.  On a family holiday in France once, we put this to the test.  I can't say that we bought an expensive wine, but having paid several francs (this was before the invention of the euro) for a bottle one day, we paid a little less each day until we reached the rock bottom.  This was almost a "bring your own bottle and we'll fill it" wine.  It would have been useful for cleaning paint brushes but after the first sips, we refused to drink it and poured it away.  But that aside, my palate is not sufficiently sophisticated to appreciate the differences between cheap - well, fairly cheap - wine and something costing, say, £25 a bottle.  And why anybody would want to pay hundreds of pounds for a bottle of wine is way beyond my understanding.

It has long been my opinion that some of the best value wines are those selected by supermarket buyers and bearing the supermarkets' own labels.  These wines tend to cost less than most others and they are of consistent quality.  What's more, they are usually good.  And that was proved recently in one of those many wine concours.  Many of the gold medal winners were supermarkets' own label wines.

Like I said, I told you so.

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