This odd, if not enigmatic, title channels Vercors’ wartime novel of resistance through Homer and Patrick O’Brian’s sixteenth Aubrey-Maturin novel, and I suppose in a round about, and obtuse, way it sums up the silence of this blog for the past couple of weeks, and perhaps for a couple of weeks to come (resistance and travel).
My last bottle of wine was the Julien Labet Chardonnay described in my last post, a delicious bottle drunk at Portland. After that an infection from a minor medical procedure led to a fourteen day course of antibiotics with a recommendation that abstention would be rather beneficial for my liver in these circumstances. Of course for a good week alcohol was a long way from my mind, but as the effects of the antibiotics began to outweigh the fever, it did allow me to ponder a little.
There’s little doubt that I love wine, and that drinking it several, okay most, nights a week is something I consider both pleasurable and civilised. Most of the time the ideal of quality over quantity holds sway, though I admit that occasionally quality and quantity perhaps combine. So having a couple of weeks off does allow me some relief that perhaps I’m not a total addict, and can “go without” (something wine drinkers whisper to each other without usually believing a single word). But at the same time I can’t deny that the pleasure of wine has been sorely missed. The sensuous scents, the texture on the tongue and the sheer diversity of flavours as we drink our way through a cellar far more eclectic than one crammed with posh bottles.
Of course, you can’t expect me to avoid buying wine, and so some Suertes del Marques 7 Fuentes, Domaine de la Cadette Melon, Occhipinti Frappato and Eva Fricke Riesling have somehow crept in, all highly recommended wines, by the way.
The good news is that the last giant tablet was consumed last night, but a period of re-acquainting myself with wine is likely to be short as I’m off to Nepal. Now I’m told that there is indeed Nepalese wine, so it is possible that I might be able to bring news of the powerful reds from the roasted slopes of Nagarkot, or the crisp whites of the Pokhara Valley, but most likely it will be a beer or two, the polite sipping of some dodgy distillation and perhaps, if I’m lucky, a bottle or two of something remarkable more for the fact that it was made at all than that it was made well. But you never know, an opus mirabile factum is not wholly beyond hope, as I’m told that there are bottles one might at least describe as palatable.
But whilst Nepal might offer a Livingstonian opportunity for the determined wine searcher, a chance to discover some autochthonous grape variety completely missed by Robinson, Harding and Vouillamoz, it does not always offer a good internet connection, or even an internet connection at all. So if I find anything worth drinking the secret may not be revealed until I return home. And for those occasionally forced to drink the obscurities I inflict on them, I doubt I shall risk a bottle on the two-legged journey home in my rucksack (phew, I’m hearing, but then that’s a blind tasting success missed for someone!).
So thanks everyone who reads my blog on a fairly regular basis for putting up with my absence. There’s another Oddities lunch at Rochelle on 27 March, and a few interesting wine trips coming up, so (ab)normal vinous verbosity will be resumed in a few weeks.