Adventurers and World Records

Fellow Wine Lovers,

We found something that made us laugh out loud this week. You may recall past emails where we may have mentioned the madness of transferring the entire European Parliament from Brussels to Strasbourg every other month. We’re rather old fashioned in the view that taxpayers should be able to expect a reasonable value for money approach to spending by their representatives and that this is anything but that. Anyhoo, on Monday, a train full of hundreds of MEP’s and European Parliament officials ended up at Disneyland Paris after being misrouted. You can imagine our mirth and I’m sure you can frame your own ‘bon mots’.   

One hundred miles from the coast of Vanuatu, Tom Robinson has been rescued. Not he of 2-4-6-8 Motorway fame but a young chap who had hoped to be the youngest person to row across the Pacific Ocean. He was nearly there too; he set off from Peru in July last year and was on the last leg, having set off from Luganville, Vanuatu on Monday and expecting to be in Cairns by December. He was rescued by a cruise ship that is now heading to Auckland from where he’ll fly home. I can never make up my mind if adventures of this nature are brave or foolhardy – certainly when I was 24 I never considered rowing anywhere in a homemade boat, certainly not across oceans. We definitely need adventurers like this, brave, foolhardy or otherwise.

Whilst we’re on the subject of water, it seems that Welsh Water, when confronted with independent analysis of their own figures, has admitted to illegally pumping sewage into Cardigan Bay. Their managing director of waste water says “We’re not proud of this at all. It’s a very uncomfortable position to be in – but it’s not for the want of trying. We have been trying to fix this.”

Maybe try harder?

Still on the subject of water, alarmingly, the Amazon is suffering a drought and is at its lowest level in a century, which doesn’t sound good at all.

On a brighter note, we have quite a lot of England versus South Africa World Cup action at the weekend. In Mumbai, it looks like the team will be able to welcome Stokes back after recovering from injury which should give a bit of a boost. At the other end of the day, and closer to home, we have Mahler, Martin and Steward facing an unchanged South African side in Paris. Marcus Smith is still suffering from the battering he took last week. Today’s semi-final is between Argentina and New Zealand – if last week’s games are anything to go by, it should be a fun weekend.

In other news, Rishi Sunak’s Future Fund, the much criticised Covid fund to support start-ups, invested £2 million pounds in four companies linked to his wife. Surprisingly, none of them are mentioned in his register of interests. According to the Cabinet Office, he has spent £650,271.28 on private or RAF jet hire. They say trains are expensive…

In wine news, Aristotelis Valaoritis has set a new world record for glass dancing. Glass dancing is a traditional Cypriot skill that you shouldn’t try at home folks since Aristotelis has been practicing this since 1995, entertaining people at events and restaurants. His world record? 319 wine glasses balanced, one by one, on trays on his head with a total weight of some 30kg – we think it’s certainly not something to try with your Riedels and apparently he’s now aiming to repeat this feat with whisky glasses!

On that note I think we should taste some wine – no rhyme or reason to these choices save the fact that the slow cooker is on duty tomorrow and the red will be a nice accompaniment…

Valenciso Blanco – £24.99 – A firm favourite with both of us, this white Rioja is a blend of 70% Viura and 30% Garnacha Blanca, sourced from 80 year old vines and then fermented with wild yeasts before lazing around for 9 months in Caucasian oak barrels. Complex aromas combining pretty, floral character with preserved lemon, truffle and smoky notes and a palate that is broad and well integrated, with nutty, stone fruit notes. Fresh candied peel, minerality and crisp citrus acidity on the finish and the texture in the mouth is similar to a posh Graves but believe me when I say it’s unmistakably Spanish in style which is why I often pair it with a fish supper!

Château de Paraza ‘Cuvée Spéciale’ 2017 – £16.99 – as discussed, casserole is in the offing and what better to match it than a Syrah, Grenache Noir & Mourvèdre blend. They give us a deep red, garnet coloured wine with cherry and raspberry compote notes, red licorice string in the background and a lovely juicy acidity which make this a great all-rounder of a wine – happy days!

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