Some weekends are definitely more focused on the gentle pleasures of life, and this one fits the bill very nicely. It started very well with finishing work on Friday, in the sure and certain contemplation of a week off, that was not going to involve rushing towards Gatwick. A short break in the UK beckoned, with 5 days at Champneys. Wine will not be the priority there, for sure, so I determined that until we went, it should be good stuff all the way. Marvellous!
In order to prepare fully for the exercise and health-fest that Champneys will be, on Saturday we went with Carol and Huw to have a champagne tea at Chewton Glen (Taittinger as well, not just House stuff!), which had been a birthday gift for Janet. The day was just what you want for this kind of thing - warm, but not too hot, the slow laziness of a September afternoon. After a glorious opener with the obligatory cucumber and salmon sandwichettes (no crusts, of course!) the ante in the calorie-fest was upped, moving into proper scones, cream and jam (I am a cream first then jam kind of guy, sorry if that's not right!) and then an orgy - that is the only word - of small cakes. Marvellous. We then struggled to waddle round the garden, in a vain attempt to get some settling in the stomach - and it was quite lovely out, the sun dappling through the trees as we lolled by a lake in the golf course, thankfully free of the club-swingers for the afternoon. Clearly enjoying ourselves far too much, we determined to continue, and so this then called for a cocktail on the terrace as we saw off the pale light and into the early evening. What a day!
So, two lovely wines to frame this experience on Friday and Sunday. Firstly, another bottle of the Vieux Telegraphe 2001, and finally, one which lived up to that name, after a few which were not 'off', but decidedly not as good as I would have hoped, over-mature to be honest. Not this one. Rich, ripe, a hint of meatiness and full, warm flavours made me love this nicely mature Chateauneuf. How I love the heat that seems to exude from the very bottle. Went down very nicely with a rather simple pasta - and why not? Then, by total contrast on Sunday, a Volnay Vielles Vignes 2005 from Potel, fresh as a daisy, silky and elegant. Perfect with a piece of beef - it had more than enough flavour to hold up well, and even added some juiciness to the meat, with its overtones of raspberries and a long finish. Just a real treat, a brilliant balance of fruit, acidity and tannin. Truly a wine drunk at the peak.
So, dear reader, as you see I am muddling through right now..