No more wine!
Well, here we are a few years down the road from the much publicised UK exit from the European union: has it really affected most of us? Honestly, are we really any better or worse off? In my view, Covid has impacted on our way of life more to be absolutely honest, but not much has changed in my world except one thing.
I have a passion for one brand of French wine. I am certainly not a drinker, but a glass with Sunday lunch is very favourable. This brand is Domaine Tariquet Classic, first discovered in the UK by a long-gone wine merchant in the village of Wittersham in deepest Kent.
Thanks a lot, el tel!
It was very reasonable and very exclusive until one day a certain broadcaster was on holiday in the area and discovered its worth. Terry Wogan extolled its light and crisp virtues on air during his highly regarded breakfast show, and suddenly the queues went around the block. Of course, the price shot through the roof.
Suddenly the holy grail was beyond my reach – but fast forward to 2013. Whilst randomly googlywoogling on holiday I found out the Tariquet Classic was still available and could be shipped by the case to the UK for not much. I ordered two cases there and then, which on reflection seemed a bit weird, here I was in Barbados ordering wine from France to be delivered to the UK!
Which serves it in the office of a moat
All went swimmingly until we finally left the Union, when suddenly the wholesaler couldn’t deliver, citing “difficulties with the English Channel.” I have looked weekly to see if this has changed but sadly no. The only way is to purchase in bulk – say 4 000 bottles – and hire a French man with a van to do the trip.
This is fraught with danger: can I trust the driver? Can I fork out that much in one go with no insurance? No, it’s too much risk. There is also container shipping but I can’t wait for the container to leave Bordeaux and circumvent Panama and Mozambique before arriving in Liverpool 14 years later.
Two weeks ago, I was looking in the garage and moving boxes around, and hidden at the bottom was a dusty case of 2018 Tariquet, looking up at me with a smile and a cheeky wink! The ambient temperature of the garage this time of year is about 2oC which for my favourite tipple is perfect.
This is where the emotions kick in. I was feeling so pleased and absolutely on top of the world. It was 2pm but I felt a celebration was in order. I telephoned ahead to alert the management and by the time I arrived two glasses were ready and waiting!
I peeled the lead-like seal away and inserted the bottle opener, I gently removed the cork with the usual loud pop and poured the wine gently, the clear yellow liquid came out in the background, you could hear the ‘glugging’ noise in the main body in the bottle as it gave up the long-lost Ambrosia.
As we extolled the virtues of this long-lost wine which over the years had become a personal friend, we toasted the poor stacking in the garage and gently sipped the glasses. Simultaneously, we spat the contents over each other and in an instance the bubble was burst: it was foul beyond belief from the high to the low in a split second!
I sent the management to the garage to collect the rest. All of it turned out to be corked! How could that happen? It’s a young wine but I think this was just hard luck, but it may of course have been a cunning ploy of a built-in self-destruct system employed by the Government abroad to “put water on my fire” but I don’t know. I went from elation to the deepest depression in a split second: this must be a record for such things.
What’s done is done
Before this experience I had no opinion as to whether we should have stayed or left, but now purely because of selfishness, I feel we have probably made a mistake! Please Mr French government, give the couriers a break and let them cross the puddle, your wine exports will return and the vineyard owners will vote for you again.
I have an empty bottle on the sideboard with a selection of French products set up as a shrine to common sense, if only…