It is not often that I have time off work due to illness. I thought I'd be OK for a while at least, following a couple of days off the other week, due to some sort of virus and throat infection. But I didn't bargain on the cold I picked up over the weekend turning into something really horrible and debilitating. I felt rougher than a really rough thing yesterday morning, but managed to struggle out of bed and off to work. Which turned out to be a big mistake. I don't think I've ever felt so ill at work before and each minute felt like ten. This morning, I wasn't much better, so decided (against my natural instinct) to call in sick. At least I could suffer in the comfort of my own home, though trying to sleep inbetween bouts of coughing, wheezing, spluttering, gurgling and sweating was nigh-on impossible. By this evening, I at least felt well enough to eat something. And in a house full of wine, how could I not open a bottle, if only for a (currently) healthy TLD to enjoy a glass with dinner? So I opened this little beauty, which is so fragrant and flavoursome that it lifts the heart and cuts through my deleted olfactory senses, no problem at all.
The colour is a deep, but vivid purple, with the tiniest dark ruby rim. It lloks imposing, but appearances can be deceptive. The nose is spectacularly fragrant and expressive and - even with my cold - manages to display an array of different aromas, ranging from bramble, blackcurrant and cherry, through orange zest, apples and tea, to lilies and violets. There are also some attractive hints of new leather, polished wood and cigar box - but not in an oaky way. I think it is just the way this particular grape variety likes to express itself. The palate too offers a glorious array of ripe red and black fruits, with liquorice, black cherry and dark/bitter chocolate notes and a lick of allspice. And what structure! Firm, grippy, but extremely ripe tannins mingle effortlessly with the sweet, spicy, almost creamy fruit, and there is a lovely backbone of juicy acidity, giving it real lift and vitality. It really is very moreish indeed. If you are a lover of Loire Cabernet Franc, or even Cabernet-rich Bordeaux, then you will love this - although you may be disappointed at the complete lack of greenness in such a ripe, generous wine(!) Similarly, if you are a lover of wines with a bit of southern warmth - and flavour to spare - you will also love it. I'd even venture that there is something Italian about it, with that juicy, ripe, sweet-and-sour fruit. Whatever, it really is a lovely wine, which was a delight to drink on its own, but also went well with pork chp and pasta with a tomato, herb, onion and garlic sauce. If this were from some or other well-known or fancy appellation, it would be good value at £15 or more. I've just added it to my list at £10.99.
Right - I'm whacked, so off to bed.