How to Beat the Winter Blues (February)

It is one of life’s most pertinent questions in my humble opinion. Sometimes you can wake up in a good mood, look outside and say, ‘Well at least it’s not raining’ and just like that you feel as though you are perhaps ‘beating the winter blues’.

It makes me wonder; how did we get the ‘winter blues’ in the first place? Is it because, generally speaking, in northern Europe over half of our days in a year are overcast? Or maybe because it rains A LOT? Or perhaps because it’s just bloody cold. This year in particular could be a bad one if you voted to remain in the EU Referendum, but let’s not get into that. Honestly who knows… it’s not something I tend to worry myself with.

However, what I do worry myself with is drinking some good wines to make sure that I don’t fall to the same fate as everyone else. Now some of you may think that because it is cold - and a lot of the time wet - you would need a strong, powerful red wine to come home to and sit in a cosy living room watching tv. Whilst that may be the case (as I will suggest a little later on) I am also going to suggest that you do not need to bow to the norm. I sometimes find that there is nothing better to come home to than the opposite of what you think you want.

So… lets start with the norm as I imagine it could be more popular!

Starting on the cheaper end of the spectrum, a cracking and vibrant red wine that will soothe all of your ailments after a long cold day at work is the Domaine de Piaugier Grange de Piaugier 2014, 6 years old with still a hint of fresh fruits with lovely vanilla oak features in the middle and a robust cooked fruits finish which is not too short and not too long, it’s just right (this wine was previously recommended to me by three bears and a blonde girl).

If you feel like really enjoying yourself and wanting a bit more oomph, then step no further than Casalobos 2008. This is dramatic and powerful; it really will knock your socks off. Now considering the world we live in I do not want to be considered sexist at all, but I have only met one woman who likes this wine. I have had over 200 ladies try this wine in different tastings and only one liked it, I really hope there is another lady out there who likes this. If anyone does buy it, please let me know! You will be part of a very specialist club! Safe to say that this is almost certainly better with food.

Finally, if you really want to go all out, then head straight for for Guy Cinquin Domaine de l’Europe Mercurey Levitation 2015. When dad and I first found this man we honestly thought that we had stepped into a gold mine. No one really knew about him in the UK and his wines were lovely and not too expensive. He does make a white as well but his three reds (of which the Levitation is his ‘best’) really do show the greatness of the Cote Chalonnaise. Thick and luscious with red fruits on the forefront and a balanced and long finish, there really is nothing bad I can say about this wine!

Now earlier we discussed the possibility that you do not always need to bow to the norm, so I will leave you with one white wine that even served chilled in the fridge will be a perfect accompaniment to your cosy evening. Step forward La Bastide Saint Dominique Cotes-Du-Rhone Blanc 2018… Now before you completely write this off, I must just give you some insight into what you could be enjoying. For starters it is only £11.99 a bottle, which in the grand scheme of things that really isn’t expensive. In addition, its real delight is that because it is from the southern Rhone valley it does not use any of the normal white grape varieties that you would be used to, unless you drink white wine from the Rhone Valley as your main tipple (which I doubt it but who knows). It has a very expressive almost perfumey nose with lovely floral notes and strong stone fruits on the pallet, balanced with a lovely acidity and a powerful finish, this wine will only get better with age. Buy some now and drink it tomorrow and you can already see what I mean, buy some now and drink it in 2 years’ time and you really will see what I mean.

As always... food for thought, or maybe we should change it to wine for thought (I think I like that actually) 

Harry Vernau

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