As we move into Spring, life becomes more hectic, so we have decided to have a full week off the wine while the opportunity presents itself. Why this feels such a difficult task is a bit of an embarrassment as it should be easy to lay off the wine from time to time. I know it's good for the body to have a break and working in wine and with wine every day it's very easy to justify the need to drink every single day - a client is coming, I need to taste these wines to keep up to date, we have people for dinner etc etc. Sharing wine with friends, colleagues and customers is a pleasure, and the Wine Trade is a sociable business to be involved with.
At the end of the day, I look forward to a glass of something before I start preparing dinner. This for me is the best moment - to open a bottle of something, be it a glass of cremant, a really chilled Fino sherry, a glass of Vouvray (for more often than not at this stage in the evening it's something light, white and chilled) then sit down for half an hour, reflect on the day's events and just relax before starting again. Sometimes this period of relaxation results in a second glass being poured before dinner which is always a mistake.
Sometimes the wine we've had as an aperitif will continue through dinner if it suits the dish but often we'll go and fish something else out of the cellar that better suits what we are eating that night. This is also a pleasure - thinking about the flavours of the dish, the spicing, weight and intensity of flavour and finding a wine that matches the dish in terms of fruit, acidity, weight, tannin etc.
So, it's not just the actual drinking of the wine that gives pleasure - it's the choosing, opening, discussing, trying, tasting as well.
For this week, I'll stick to Elderflower Cordial. I make it myself every year and have just a little to last me until the trees flower again and I restock the larder for the coming months. It's incredibly easy to make and is easily as good as any of the big brands. It's also not at all bad with food - quite sweet but with loads of fresh lemon in the background and refreshing acidity on the palate. I'll dig out the recipe and post it on the blog - once you've made it you'll never buy a bottle again.