As I’ve just remarked to my little dog: “What a triumph of civilisation to have a man lying on the sofa eating his dinner, while his companion dog lies on the floor beside him!”
While normally rather pessimistic and downbeat about the achievements of civilisation, I could add that the man on the sofa was drinking, with his dinner, a civilisationally triumphant chenin (Land of Hope Chenin Blanc 2012). I could also add that when the man heaved himself off the sofa to go to his computer to jot down these notes, he invited the aforementioned little dog onto the sofa, and she jumped up and went to sleep.
She keeps a respectful distance when I’m eating but is glad of company on the sofa when I’m not. It has been known, however, for the man to sit on the floor so as not to disturb the dog on the sofa.
I recall – but I’m damned if I can remember where I read it – a splendid first paragraph of a novel (I think a novel) in which the lost and beleagured focus character hears a dog barking in the distance and realises that a human settlement must be there! Isn’t that marvellous (perhaps not for cat-lovers)? To associate the presence of humanity with the presence of dogs!
Oh, I wish we deserved them.
Do we deserve lovely chenin blancs? Yes, because we at least made them, along with the awful stuff. Do we deserve dogs? I wonder. We treat them, on the whole, worse than we treat chenin blanc, with insufficient respect, and insufficient regard for what they honour us with.
As to lying on the sofa while eating my dinner, I have before adduced the grand example of the great writer Vladimir Nabokov (his story “Mademoiselle O” is perhaps the most wondrous stretch of English prose that I know, though I’m not a fan of his novel Lolita). Vlad disliked restaurants (unlike me) and liked eating lying down (like me, though not at restaurants, where I manage a chair just fine).
By the way, Land of Hope Chenin is made by Alex Dale’s Winery of Good Hope – it’s the label benefitting and controlled by the workers there (this is a more politically and socially respectable winery than most). All the chenins of this winery are fantastic – there’s also Vinum (a bit cheaper) and Renaissance (more expensive and a bit more serious). What’s more is that the label is brilliant. I really like it.
And what a great grape, in such hands.
One of the few downsides of dogs is that they really, really don’t appreciate wine. But I’m confident that if they did, they’d enjoy honest, transparent, delicious chenin like this. Gosh, how it disappears!