Or, to put it another way, how you can live the other half of the time.
I sometimes think that buying wine is a bit like buying pants. Yes, really. When no one is looking rather a lot of us get by on cheap, but good quality, cotton 5-packs from M&S. But we also pop into Selfridges and Myla (especially at sales time) and accidentally spend £45 a throw (we lie about the cost, even to ourselves) on incredibly pretty scraps of lace and silk.
So, with wine, we squeeze the budget on the everyday bottles, constantly hunting for keen value (such as the £5.79 Argentian malbec I posted about last week) and then, just occasionally, there is a splurge. Unfortunately this splurge often happens in a bar or restaurant and simply involves paying four times more than we would at home for a wine less good than we’d drink at home and we don’t benefit. Well, we don’t benefit in taste terms, just in having-a-nice-time-in-a-bar-with-friends terms.
The other day I was taken out for dinner. A beautiful bottle of wine was ordered. I once interviewed one of the founders of Agent Provocateur who became quite angry when I asked for a forensic report on what makes specific lingerie special. “It just IS.” And so it is with good wine. This one, in the glass, made me stop talking, pull my spine a little straighter and say, “Oh!”
It was Domaine Clape Cornas 2008 France
The facts are these:
Grape – syrah Region – northern Rhone
What does that tell you? Not much. I could say that I like the 2008 vintage for being fresher and more articulate than the lauded 2007s and 2009s. That we were drinking it very young but it still had quiver, intensity, layers, direction. I was eating pork with a rich, savoury jus and that worked splendidly. It is an intense, black wine, but a list of descriptors (you would say Doc Marten boots, game and black pepper) isn’t going to convey the spirit.
I daren’t even look to see how much this wine cost on a restaurant menu.
But it is Myla-lace-and-silk price if you buy it in a shop to drink at home.