Normality, Cheese, Wine & Coffee

Fellow Wine Lovers,

Hasn’t August been great so far!  Wall to wall sunshine, back to back barbecues and ear to ear smiles all round – certainly photos we see from people holidaying abroad tell this tale.  Here though, it’s all a bit ordinary, isn’t it?  Dull weather doesn’t make the staycation feel like the best decision I’ve made recently and even the quieter roads and short queues at the bar don’t quite stop me from thinking about tapas and the bars of Benahavís…

But we’re here, so let’s make the best of it.  We’ve allowed ourselves to turn the telly on over breakfast (normally verboten) to watch the latest medal winning performance in a sport that until now we hadn’t come across – speed climbing for example – and we’ve loved it.  We’ve watched the cricket, admittedly from behind the sofa on Wednesday but yesterday we felt a bit more confident.  We even watched the tedious Lions rugby last weekend which felt like an Olympic discipline as gruelling as the marathon swim.

Conforming to his reputation as a gentleman, aesthete, scholar and gourmet, Wayne always prepares himself a rather splendid luncheon to accompany his prescribed glass of early afternoon red.  Often this luncheon will include/entirely consist of cheese and will always be accompanied by some highbrow periodical that apparently helps him solve The Times crosswords.  On Wednesday, on his way to Saucer and Cup for his post prandial caffeine fix, he thrust that day’s literary offering under my nose and, with a smile, said ‘You’ll like this!’

My eyes fell upon a Cardiovascular Research review paper by Gabriele Riccardi, Annalisa Giosuè, Ilaria Calabrese and Olga Vaccaro at the University of Naples Federico II – Dietary recommendations for prevention of atherosclerosis – July 2021.  Now, we all want our hearts to keep on beating for as long as possible but it appears that Mr W. has been checking out what we should and shouldn’t be eating and drinking.  He read this paper so that we didn’t have to and has these keynotes to offer us:

  • a 2020 meta-analysis of studies found an 18 percent reduction in the incidence of myocardial infarction (heart attack) in subjects who habitually consumed cheese
  • consumption of three cups of coffee per day is associated with a 10 to 16 percent reduction in risk of heart disease incidence and mortality
  • two glasses of wine per day is associated with a maximal risk reduction of 32 percent of cardiovascular disease

There was also some good news relating to chocolate but since that doesn’t usually appear on his lunch table, he didn’t divulge the full details.  Plus, we are led to believe that whilst a UK ‘unit’ of 8g of alcohol, an Italian ‘unit’ is 12g.  Feels like a win, trebles all round!

In other news we read a headline on the Beeb website that asked the question ‘Is Covid over?’ and, to be honest, we didn’t bother reading further as this seemed like a bit if a non-article, sent to wind us up.  Australia got their way as we saw the postponement of the Rugby League World Cup until next year; this writer can foresee the postponement of the Ashes this winter too, particularly as only 15% of their population have been jabbed currently (and, of course unrelated, we will be without Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer).  Grant Shapps shuffled his red, amber and green cards and decided that France was no longer as naughty as previously thought, Mexico is extremely naughty yet somehow Spain is ok and the likes of Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Malta, Norway, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia get the full green light – start packing your bags!

Last weekend saw the cautious return to a bit of wine tasting action in the shop.  Wayne opened some Albariño, the heavens opened, the tube station shut and not many people got to try the wine.  Unperturbed and with an optimistic nod towards a return to normality, we will be opening a couple of bottles this weekend and, since it’s been such a long time, this is a great opportunity to open some new listings.

In white we have Manos Negras Torrontés 2019 – £14.99 from the high altitude desert of the Calchaquíes Valleys in Salta, Argentina.  We always enjoy the aromatic fresh floral nose that you get with Torrontés, urging you to taste the wine, which never disappoints giving similar tropical fruit flavours attached to a long, crisp and fresh finish.  Great with a Thai green curry…

For red, we’ve gone to Italy for our inspiration.  That T-bone you are planning to barbecue this weekend would be simply splendid with Fattoria di Calappiano Vinciano 2019 – £14.99.  The estate was founded circa 1500 by the famous Florentine family, the Medici who probably spent a bit of money on it at the time!  Anyway, the estate is still flying and this Chianti is a lovely juicy Sangiovese with lush red fruits, herby hints and a touch of wood-smoke on the finish – it really won’t take very long to finish the bottle!

That’s it from us for now – please pop by and say hello, have a taste and raise a glass to normality (we hope!)

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