Glastonbury, G20 and Question of Sport

Fellow Wine Lovers,

A question posed yesterday by one of my oldest friends (and I mean that both in terms of age and length of service) is one that has been confounding the greatest minds since the dawn of time: ‘So, why can’t English top level sportsmen perform under pressure?’ 

In case there was any doubt as to what he was referring to, I believe the pasting the England cricket team received on Tuesday was probably top of his list.  Comments such as ‘crumpling under the weight of expectation’, ‘putting ourselves under unnecessary pressure’ and ‘not being as good as we thought we were’ were all good suggestions for our failure to achieve.  The suggestion that we could try cheating was met with stiff opposition and it was crudely pointed out that we’d probably bottle that too.  The observation that 5 of the World Cup squad were born outside of England was merely used as an example as to how infectious the English condition can be – imagine how different life wold be if Ben Stokes had stayed in NZ?

So we need a win on Sunday, against the minnows that call themselves India followed by another wine against the land of Mr Stokes’s birth.  Easy, two form teams gearing up for the final four – what could go wrong?  Paul, our correspondent from Lords on Tuesday, was keen to reiterate to us in his report that England were ‘utterly pants’ that day; so, providing we avoid being pants, everything should be hunky dory!

Keen to avoid any work/cricket/lengthy sporting discourse, Wayne spent the first chunk of this week mingling and networking in Tuscany.  It was the AGM of the small buying group that we are members of and, this year, it was being hosted by one of the Argentine wine producers.  Whilst keen to travel to Mendoza, the ‘fly on Monday, return on Wednesday’ nature of the trip made it more sensible for the winery to decamp to Europe.  The irony of drinking Malbec in the Italian sunshine whilst enjoying the asado was not lost on him. 

However, the absence of any Italian wine at all did feel a little bit like an opportunity missed.  Apart from that, I’m told that he has seen things that he will never be able to unsee and the ‘what goes on tour stays there’ line has been used more than once.  Suffice to say, any winery that has different cigar matches for their wines is definitely not one for the fainthearted.  Apparently we need to ask him about ‘the somersaults’…?

But he was back in time for our tasting last night.  We had the pleasure of hosting Rachel from Domaine Treloar last night, or perhaps more accurately we provided a location for Rachel to host her fabulous wines.  I think it would be fair to say that it was a brilliant evening and the wines were singing.  The great news now is that Rachel will be back to do it all again on Thursday 17th October at 8pm – tickets are £20 but don’t dally, I suspect some of the guests from last night might sign up to do it all over again!

Meanwhile, our crusty friends have gone down to Glastonbury to re-discover themselves.  Admittedly the crusty appellation is probably no longer appropriate as they now all have posh jobs in defence and science but, back in the day, they were definitely fence climbing, friends of Swampy and New Model Army.  Anyway, back in 1989 the Pyramid headliners were Suzanne Vega, Elvis Costello and Fela Kuti; 1999 brought us R.E.M., Manic Street Preachers and Skunk Anansie; 2009 was the turn of Neil Young, Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band and Blur and now, in 2019 we have ‘the’ Stormzy, The Killers and The Cure.  Wayne wants to go back to 1989 and I quite fancy 2009 – what’s your vote?

Wherever this weekend happens to find you sheltering it will definitely be from the sun we are told, Saturday being sun day and Sunday being cloud and sun day.  Both days will, however, be Scorchio! (Fast Show 1994-1997, just in case you weren’t feeling old enough already) and as a result we’ll be opening some cooling refreshers tonight and tomorrow.

Dressed in cooling white linen we have the gently charming Château Mercian Yamanashi Koshu Sur Lie 2017 – £17.50.

With a winemaking history dating back to 1877 Chateau Mercian is now Japan’s leading winery although we accept that Japan is not an enormous wine producer, its annual 22 million bottles is less than Moet & Chandon’s annual sales.  Koshu is Japan’s very own grape variety, having been grown there for around a thousand years although DNA research at UC Davies has determined it to be a descendant of Europe’s vitis vinifera vine species.  We found this to be light and fresh, a little floral and with a lovely dry finish.  Excellent with some sashimi, or a seafood paella but just fabulous with some pan-fried mackerel in the sunshine!

For the redder amongst us we will be toasting the weather with a glass of chilled Rechamante 2016 – £14.99.

Hailing from Orense, in Galicia, this is a cracking red.  Made mainly from Mencía Grape variety, it is light, fresh and fruity.  The fruits are a mixture of red and dark fruits to this taster but there is no doubting its juiciness.  Dangerously easy to drink, only 12%, and bound to be a tasty partner to whatever you happen to be cooking this weekend.

That’s about it from us for this week – I’ve attached details of the upcoming tastings and also the details of the Wine School that starts again in October – have a read, see if you fancy any of them, drop us a line – easy.

Oh and the solution, perhaps, to the ‘why can’t English top level sportsmen perform under pressure?’ conundrum.  Stop watching.  Watch the women instead.  3-0 to England last night in the World Cup quarter finals and a penalty saved.  If you get the chance to see the third goal on highlights then it’s definitely worth a watch.

Stay fresh!

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