So Much Lettuce

Fellow Wine Lovers,

First up, please don’t start moaning about how hot it is. 

We know full well that you are working from home today, dressed for the beach rather than the office and that lunch will be late, light, salady and accompanied by a nice chilled glass of Rosé whilst you gently let the computer ease into standby mode… even Alex has succumbed to the comfort a pair of shorts can bring and there is every likelihood that later on a gentle loosening of his necktie will accompany the unbuttoning of his cardigan.

Is this summer?  Can we trust it?  Probably as much as we can trust anything these days but let’s not go down that road today shall we, just enjoy what is in front of us for a bit.

As I think many of us have seen, letters containing unexpected news have been fluttering back and forth in Westminster recently but who knows what the consequences will be?  For those of you who have been too busy playing golf in Spain and as a result have been on a news avoidance scheme, let me fill you in. 

All is not well in the Palace of Westminster (Lords). 

It would seem that, according to a piece in Open Democracy, the members of the House of Lords have been writing letters of distinct disgruntlement regarding the quality of the food and drink available to them at work.  Whilst, at first glance, these may seem to be very much First World problems, I’m sure you’ll forgive them when you know all the facts.  First we need to understand that the 768 members sitting on the red leather banquettes are not paid to be Peers, they do it for no recompense whatsoever, save the miserly £323 daily attendance rate.  No show, no dough – however if they do show up for every sitting the attendance rate is somewhere in the vicinity of £50,000 per annum but I feel we digress from the main issue here – the poor quality of the food and drink.  Here are some of the complaints:

“There are only so many smoked salmon or prawn and crayfish salads one can take week after week”

“limited range of pre-packaged sandwiches”

“Could the sandwiches be presented on a plate with a bit of salad rather than in cardboard?”

“so much lettuce”

“very little to eat other than a box of 2 pre-packed salads”

“The current offering of salads leaves much to be desired….. I realise you need to make a profit but the margin on your smoked salmon seems extortionate.”

“Both the Chardonnay and the Sauvignon Blanc are really poor quality… Can something be done?”

I know, bit Kafkaesque innit, the poor en-titled lambs!

Oh, and while we’re at it, all is not well in the Palace of Westminster (Commons) either as another of Boris’s Ethics Advisors resigns but, to be honest, we’re running out of energy a bit when it comes to the PM and his affairs.

In the wide world outside of Westminster, on Tuesday we saw both the zenith and the nadir of life as an English sports fan when our cricketers somehow managed to canter to victory in the last day of the Test Match whilst, but a few hours later, uninspired by the cricketers antics, our footballers lost 4-0 to Hungary, the worst home defeat for over 90 years! 

There was also a bit of exciting wine news – in fact ‘exciting’ is probably overpromising but interesting to us, nonetheless. 

From Wednesday, Sussex Sparkling Wine was granted official Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) status by the Ministry for Farming, Fisheries and Food.  A PDO is similar to the appellations we find in Europe, whereby, particular items that are produced, processed and prepared in a specific region, using agreed techniques and ingredients are allowed to display PDO on their labels.  Whilst not an absolute guarantee of quality, it is a guarantee of provenance and a reminder to any producers who perhaps might be making wine in the west country using grapes grown in Essex  that their geography is catching up with them!

Excitingly for us, Bolney Estate is one of the wineries that qualify for this Sussex Sparkling Wine PDO and, whilst it’s not on the labels just yet, hopefully we all know how good it is already.

However, if you don’t know how good it is already, all is not lost because in celebration we will be opening a bottle of The Bolney Estate Foxhole Vineyard Brut Reserve NV – £29.00 for tasting this evening and tomorrow, so come and have a slurp.

To complement the bubbles we’ll crack open a bottle of barbecue red because, in spite of any weather forecasts to the contrary, we trust our instincts and expect any rain to happen between 3am and 9am on Sunday morning, skedaddling well before brunch – you can quote Wayne on this, he’s an expert. 

The red we’ll crack will be a bit of a treat too – The Chocolate Block 2020 – £23.99 (6 for £126)

Hailing from Swartland, South Africa this is a blend of 73% Syrah, 11% Grenache, 8% Cinsault, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon & 1% Viognier, predominantly sourced from the Porseleinberg and Goldmine farms.  The cold winter of 2019 and remarkably moderate summer of 2020 have set us up for a really impressive vintage of Chocolate Block with wonderful poise and texture.  The wine is focused and elegant, with fresh yet integrated acidity and fine-grained tannins, adding to exceptional structure.  Black currant and milk chocolate linger on a silky finish – bring a large glass!

That’s about it for us for now – Father’s Day on Sunday – I’m hoping that someone buys me a lie in and a bacon sarnie but I realise that such things might be out of stock already!

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