It might be true that in book club we keep ‘forgetting’ to read the book. Book club has four members. We have been meeting for over ten years and in that time there have been four weddings, one divorce, six children, one career-change, seven house moves, quite a lot of gin-and-vodka tonics and five books (or three, if you’re not prepared to count a trilogy as three separate volumes). A while ago we decided that we only really liked the first three and just read those on loop, or don’t read as has been the case recently. Last night we didn’t-read at Louisa’s* house. I noticed a bottle of Barefoot Merlot (made by Gallo Family Vineyards) on the kitchen worktop. “Do you like that wine?” I asked. “No,” said Louisa. “Not at all. It’s incredibly dull and boring and almost sweet. But we buy it quite a lot because they sell it in the local shop and there is never time….” There was a little sticky yellow £5.99 label on the bottle so I thought I would recommend two MUCH NICER wines, a red and a white, inside Louisa’s part-time-teacher-with-family-£5.99-a-bottle-budget, that she could buy instead. Oh, and they can be ordered and delivered so no need to worry about time.
THE RED: Cuvee Chasseur Red 2012 France (£4.95, Waitrose) Cheery, bright, happy strawberry-scented grenache from the south of France. Every year I love this and the new vintage is as good as ever. Hurrah.
THE WHITE: Tesco Finest Picpoul 2011 France (Tesco, 2 for £12 until 23rd April and if you buy 12 bottles online from Tesco Wine by the Case by 18th April there’s an extra 25% off taking it down to £4.50/bottle) OK, so it’s not within budget by one penny. But it nearly is. Louisa said she was fed up with sauvignon blanc, “All that aggressive cat pee,” and Alex has recently fallen for picpoul. I was impressed with her tasting note, “So lovely and dry and almost salty, sort of marine,” – and she didn’t even know the vineyards, right down in the hot Languedoc, practically overlook the saltwater lagoon of the Bassin de Thau. An excellent alternative to sauvignon blanc. Slides down so easily…
* Some names have been changed at the friend’s request to protect their identity from the ire of wine snobs