So my friend, let's call her Ali, she won't mind me using her real name, she's pretty neat. Not the tidy neat, the cool neat. The fun person you always hang out with. We call each other 'G' (pronounced 'Jee!'), play SingStar to tragic tunes from Tina Turner, Cher and Alice Cooper, dance with my pooch - and boy can we talk shit for hours.
About once a week, usually on a weekend, she'll come around. We almost have an unspoken deal where I provide the wine and she prepares a pot of tea for us the next morning. It's a real treat.
It's a funny thing, when 'G' gets to my house. We'll chat a bit...
'G!' - Me
'Hay G' - Ali
'How you doin', G?'
'Good G how choo doin'?
Yada, yada, yada.
'Want some vino, G?'
We walk to my special spot where I store the wine, in their original cardboard boxes (sophisticated, I know). I kneel down and take a bottle of the Seppeltsfield Eden Valley Riesling, showing off the new retro labels and the funky engraved bottle.
She stares back, a grave look on her face, and in a deep tone she says: 'G, you know how I feel about white wine'. I take a bottle of the Lagrein.
Mr Andrew Jefford recently said that alcohol in wine shouldn't be overlooked - not only for its ability to express particular terroir, but for it's ability to connect people. Sure, he was a bit controversial in saying that. After all, how much is too much? But I'm not going to lie and say our night would have been as fun had we sat on the apple juice. And boy do I love juice.
I wasn't blind drunk when I fell off my chair. Yeah, I fell off the chair. But I wasn't particularly sober, either. But the night was a hoot. Endless laughs turned to serious chats turned to another glass of vino, another round of SingStar, another song, and so on, and so on (this is after she kicked my arse in Scrabble - mean G).
Vino - and it's alcohol content - is, indeed, special in this way and shouldn't be given the death stare. I'm certainly not saying it should be abused - what fool do you take me for, yo! - just sayin' it cops more flack than I think it should.
As for the Lagrein: dark purple, violet aromas, with flavours of earth and dark berries, finished with a small bite of minerality and spice. To be frank, it didn't particularly rock our boats, especially at 39 bucks. The Shiraz Grenache Carignan, on the other hand, was a dream boat. It was like berry soup. A simply divine drink that I'd swirl and sip while shakin' my hips to Buddy Holly on any warm summer day. And winter's only just begun.