Talking of food wine

I’ve just had a thought about wine notes, which is either very trivial or very profound. Or something in-between. Or merely uninteresting. The chances are that it is a combination of all three. But I’ll mention it just in case it strikes home to someone.

The Great Thought occurred as I was coming to the end of my supper – a very successful one, in that I’d enjoyed it greatly (helped I suppose in that I was much enjoying the book I was accompanying it with, bizarrely enough a biography of Jonathan Swift, in whom I have no great interest beyond the fact that I’m sympathetically fascinated by the despairing disgust at humanity evidenced in Gulliver’s Travels).

Anyway – supper was (apart from the book, which I include, thinking holistically – if human endeavour can be included as part of terroir, then why not the total experience when it comes to a meal?), for the first part, pasta shells with roast chicken heated in a sauce of reduced white wine thickened with crème fraiche, plus garlic, chili, capers, sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper. Going very beautifully with all the above was a bottle of David Elpidios 2011, the maiden vintage of the subtle blend of Swartland shiraz , carignan, grenache etc made by David and Nadia Sadie. (This is probably not the place, but I will mention anyway my sudden recent realisation that this producer’s wines are not given their proper name in the Platter Guide: the entry is under “David & Nadia Sadie”, which is fair enough – but nowhere is it said that the label is actually just “David”. Surely this is misleading?! Actually, going back to Platter 2014, I see the entry is purely “David’, which makes a lot more sense; it was changed, without any mention of the change, in the subsequent edition.)

The food was surprisingly good. (I’m always somewhat surprised when my food is good; here I will partly credit the squeeze of juice from a lime kindly donated to my fruit bowl by Angela Lloyd, who has a treeful of these good things.) The wine was unsurprisingly good (I’m never surprised when I love David wines; it happens so frequently).

(It occurs to me to nod to another David, one Clarke, who has been known to object to my arguably excessive use of parentheses. (I do take his point.))

I seem to remember that what I wanted to indicate is that when a wine is just delicious and perfectly (perfectly, enough) matched, or anyway thoroughly enjoyed with food, writing a tasting note for it is revealed as both silly and impossible. For me, at least, as I realised when I thought of tweeting about the wine. The only possible note that I could manage would be something like: beautifully balanced, restrained rather than effusive, and structured to accompany and enhance sympathetic food; a crucial ingredient in a delightful sensual experience.

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