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Wine Gespiel

As with so many lovely things in life, there are the balancing humdrum events that we march through in between, and yes we’re there right now. My heating – normally only about as warm as striking a match underwater – broke on Boxing Day. And now it’s freezing January and the whole house is playing catch up. Yes, my wine-writing brief this month is ‘The January Blues’. So simple – just a headlong whinge about winter and how long it is until payday.

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But I just don’t have those blues. From my condensation soaked glass I can see across the Fowey River to the trees on the other bank and there’s the pink haze of new buds on the shivering silvery branches that stretch down to the high water mark.

And so it is that there is no winter in wine, only fruit (and possibly a bit of oak (oh, and usually a bit of funny chemical stuff usually just to stop it going orf). The winter is vital but you should never find winter in your glass.

And really, winter *is* important. It is important for the regeneration of the plant. At the opposite end of the year, light (more so than sun) is vital for photosynthesis: the creation of sugars from virtually nothing – just fresh air and water. But which is *more* important? You see that’s why I don’t have the blues: I can tell myself that I just ain’t that bovvered.

So what’s in my rack just now? Pure sunshine of course: I have unusually some racy, mineral Sicilian Cataratto, some heavenly, spicy Lebanese red (somehow left over from my last column), and in my fridge one of my most special discoveries of last year – well to be honest it’s only half a bottle of it – the rest went last night. It’s a sparkling gem from Jura, the sub-Alpine region of South-eastern France, known best in wine-brow circles for curiosities such as Vin Jaune (yes it sounds and indeed looks like something it shouldn’t). Crémant du Jura 2008, Domaine Grand is as all wine should be: it is packed with sunshine; it is summer preserved. It has the dewy freshness of a May morning and all the balmy, golden depth of a late September teatime. To call it Champagne would contravene the law, but for a simple £20 note, there’s quite enough of the 2008 Alpine summer in this glass to help me shut my eyes and banish that cold.

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Wine Gespiel

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