I’m an opinionated bastard, no one knows better than I – but I do (usually) admit when I’m wrong. One of my percurrent opinions is that food-and-wine-matching is more trouble than it’s worth. Have a nice wine and nice food, and let them rub along together, that’s my usual approach. This despite having been proved pathetically wrong on at least a few occasions, when something special was revealed (and also, admittedly, despite some rather unconvincing partnerships).
And it happened again this evening, something sensually marvellous involving food and wine. After a perfectly humdrum main course in which the highlight was the wine: a Douro red made by the eccentric and marvellous Dirk Niepoort, labelled especially for South Africa: Ubuntu 2013. Heaven knows what grapes went into it – I suspect even Dirk isn’t quite sure.
But then I put aside the red and resumed a half bottle of Lustau Don Nuno Oloroso sherry – savoury, slightly pungent, totally delicious. With it, a handful of raisins (one of my great stand-bys) and some wodges (too wet to call them slices) of De Leeuwen washed-rind, blue-veined cheese – one of the few things that drag me against my will into Woolworths, that haven of over-packaged, evilly-priced but sometimes indispensible food.
Well. That’s it. Nothing more to say, except … wonderful, repeat until one of the items is finished (in this case the sherry).
Logan Pearsall Smith, a pleasant writer of stuff, once said: “People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” Which I have occasionally thought a convincing observation. Nowadays I have to add that sometimes I also prefer selected TV series, especially Scandinavian and American ones (NB, not TV as a general such, which strikes me as totally awful, on the whole, and I don’t have a TV set). Tonight I was watching the “Jungles” episode of the BBC “Planet Earth II” series, which was amazing, despite the mostly silly words and music, and managed to bring out, even for me, the marvellous, jaw-dropping, miraculous side of fecund, teeming, appalling, rapacious Life. Though Life is something of which I have, basically, rather jaundiced and severe views. It formed a very appropriate accompaniment to my food-and-wine sensual indulgence. Who cares about being consistent?