This is an incredibly apt post to be writing today, as I look out on another grey sky in London. England (and Wales) is famous, or should I say infamous, for dreadful weather! It always rains here doesn’t it? Grapes need sunshine more than anything to ripen properly. How does it work over here?
There’ll be another post along later this evening about the wines themselves that I’ve picked out for trying this week. But first an apology from me. I was horribly lazy yesterday and used the term British Wine as a catch all term for wines from Britain. It’s been rightly pointed out that that’s wrong, I was just being lazy!
I remember just before the London 2012 Olympics, there was a feeling of dread living in London. Clearly as we, the British, were putting it on it was going to be shit. We’re not flashy show-boaters with a penchant for all the razzmatazz that’s needed to put this stuff on and wow the watching world! Following years of post WW2 economic struggles and a slow slide out of the main power nations of the world, we’re a nation of self-deprecators. And it’s no different with our wine.
6 Months In, Thanks For Following!
It’s 6 months since I started this blog and I wanted to do a really quick piece to mark that semi-milestone. This week I got the idea to do my first real sporting analogy. So I beg you all to bear with me, this is going somewhere…I think.
Jean Benoit, my good friend from St Médard in Bordeaux, came over to London. It was a bit of a early trade mission for his wine broking company, 20h33, that he set up about a year or so ago. It was the first time he’d been to London in 20 years, since a spotty faced teenager came over in the 90s to buy red jeans, doc martins, and try his luck with the female backpackers. It was a different experience this time entirely. I basically marched him round all the wine haunts I go to, from NW3 down to the river, St Paul’s to Charing Cross. For those of you who’ve never been to London, we roughly walked about 6 or 7 miles. In the rain. Cue one unhappy Frenchman with wet clothes and a slight calf strain.
I let him get the tube back to my flat, and he collapsed on my couch. We lazily rang in a sushi delivery order, popped open a bottle of something fresh from my last trip to Piemonte, and settled in for the next few hours of sport infront of the tele. Bear in mind they’re obviously english sports channels. I proceeded to watch this poor Gaul try make head or tail of a cricket match between India and the West Indies (I know I’ve got a few followers from non-cricketing nations that will be nodding their head). One of the famous 5 day test matches. “Hey mate,” he turned to me, “what’s going on there?”. “How long have you got?” I thought!
I’ve played cricket all my life. It helps. The rule book is massive. The subtleties of the game are lost on most of the people who love it, let alone guys and girls who have never seen it before. Yet there’s got to be something there. The english love it, the aussies can’t go without it, and as for the asian subcontinent? Forget it. It’s right up there with their families and their religions in terms of priorities of life. The 1999 Cricket World Cup Semi Final between Pakistan and India claimed (I think I’m right) the second highest TV audience for a sporting event ever recorded. (The first, if you’re wondering, was the world table tennis championship between two Chinese finalists!)
I get why people don’t like it. It is hard and if you don’t know the rules it looks mind numbingly boring. I saw JB watching cricket and just staring at the screen as the Indian fast bowlers were flying in against the hapless West Indian batsmen. But you know what? All of a sudden the ball crept through the defensive shot, the middle stump went cartwheeling down the pitch, and the Indian roar erupted…and JB was off his feet. The glimpse he got of cricket at it’s best had him up off the couch, he knew this was something good, but he had no idea what.
Am I going anywhere with this? Hey! C’est moi! Ye of little faith!
Think about the similarities with the world of wine. It’s a passion inducing topic. Those who are involved love it. We do. I’ve been hugely fortunate to interact with literally hundreds of tweeters and bloggers round the world who obviously 6 months before never knew that I existed. It’s a massive, complex topic, that I know will take years for me to get on top of (I’ve already given up the idea I’ll ever master it). But we love it all the same.
If you don’t know the basics it looks dull. It looks like a lot of people swirling glasses of either red, white, or pink liquid and talking absolute bollocks, if we’re honest. In the same way I get why people don’t like cricket, I get why people don’t get involved in wine. It’s an intimidating topic.
Maybe just drink lager instead, it’s easier. But you’re never going to jump up out your seat drinking lager, proclaiming how awesome it is. You know. I know it. That’s why we blog, tweet, sip, talk, pour, and talk some more. If I want to eulogise about cricket, I walk 500 metres from my flat and head to Lord’s Cricket Ground (the home of the England team) and sit there with 25,000 people, watch the game, and pick it all apart. If I want to do the same with wine, then this is my avenue. 6 months into wine blogging, I’m already looking forward to the next 6 months, the next 6 years maybe.
For those of you who are already wine lovers, then thanks for following, thanks for reading, thanks for your comments. I’ve loved reading all your blogs as much as I hope you’ve enjoyed reading mine. We’re all wading through this massive world of wine together.
For those of you who are new to wine and enjoying a few wine blogs to help you along the way, then please stick with it. In the same way JB was up out of his seat as Mohammed Shami ran through the West Indian batsmen, my friends (who have been amazing and been my guinea pigs this last 6 months) taste a great glass of wine and perk up, looking at me. “What’s going on there?”
How long have you got?