No - for once I'm not talking about wine. Or at least not one I'm drinking myself. Frankly, I really don't feel like drinking wine, since this wretched cold I've picked up has got me well and truly licked for the time being. I've spent the day coughing, sniffing, blowing, sneezing and generally choking half to death. I've got sore ribs and a head stuffier than a really stuffy thing. I've tried smoking more fags, but even that doesn't seem to help me feel better...... only joking, of course! Still, I guess I'd rather get it out of the way before the festivities begin - hopefully, I'll be feeling a lot healthier by the time next Tuesday's "bash" at Le Mistral in Nottingham comes around. Meanwhile, the only thing I feel like drinking at the moment is tea - and lots of it, although, without a single lemon in the house, I'm having to add a dash of orange juice to make it palatable(!)
Anyway, despite the day I've had, I felt a whole lot more chipper following an email I received this evening from a new(ish) customer. And, with his permission, I am reproducing it here;
Just a quick note to say thanks for your excellent service with my order - everything arrived safely today.
I know you're not exactly what you might call a "conventional" merchant, which perhaps gives you an advantage, but your service; the speed with which you dealt with my email asking for advice, your personal touch and the delivery of my carefully packed order before some merchants would even have responded to my initial email is an example to all, from the big boys to local independents.
I'm currently sipping, probably unwisely, one of your recommendations - the Combe Blanche Tempranillo - and despite its recent travels it's proving to be just the sort of thing I love: a lovely fruit (I hate to copy your tasting note, but definitely plum) coupled with just the right amount of acidity and tannin. I was going to write that it's not the most sophisticated of wines, but actually it depends what you're comparing it to: on reflection it's pretty darned good for the price.
Best of luck for the continuing development of your business. Based on your wines, prices and service you deserve it to be a roaring success.
Once again many thanks.
Now excuse me for appearing to blow my own trumpet (wasn't it ever thus....) but isn't that lovely? Of course, I do get other emails and notes of praise from time to time. And, come to think of it, nobody has ever felt compelled to write and tell me how rubbish my wines are(!) But when people say or write things like this, it helps me to remember why I put myself through the not inconsiderable trials and tribulations of trying to build a successful wine business. Of course, I'm not there yet (as evidenced by my continuing "day job", courtesy of HM Land Registry). But it is the little things like this that provide me with just the spur I need to keep at it until it all really kicks off.
So many thanks for taking the time to write to me, Richard - and I hope you keep enjoying the wines. And feel free to spread the word, too! ;-)
For the curious, the wine Richard is enjoying so much this evening is Domaine La Combe Blanche Calamiac Terroir Tempranillo 2007 - Vin de Pays des Cotes du Brian
Now I'm off to get some dinner, followed by a very long lie down in a dark room.