Jeremy Clarke Jeremy Clarke

The joy of red wine

Pretty much overnight, I have developed a taste for it — and life has become easier

(Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Everything is happening so fast. First we were put under a night curfew. A few days later M. Macron announced another lockdown. Then, pretty much overnight, I developed a taste for red wine. The Damascene conversion was a bottle of Clos de l’Ours, a local vineyard. It was pricey admittedly, even when bought direct from the vigneron’s shop, but it was a gateway. Now I’m guzzling red.

It’s like finally liking sausages after a lifetime’s aversion. The suddenness and completeness of the conversion I can only put down to an organic deterioration in the brain. Old age, perhaps. Or years of drinking this unpretentious, paralysing brand of gin that is found on French supermarket shelves: it’s called ‘GIN’.

Red wine people don’t get pissed, they are beatified

Saying yes to red makes life easier. Once they recognise a fellow capitulator at the table, red wine people slosh it into your glass without asking. I like that. Red wine people don’t talk endlessly about what they are going to have. Red wine people don’t bore on about loving wine in the same way that hacks never bore on about loving literature. The subject doesn’t come up because it’s taken as read. Red wine people have decided they need look no further. Red wine people don’t sip, they knock it back. Red wine people don’t get pissed, they are beatified. The Provençals hereabouts don’t like white wine because, they say, it gives them a headache. Therefore red wine people, even those who have chosen to remain English, are assimilated.

Not a fortnight into my rebirth as a late-stage wino, however, there was yet another dramatic alteration in the tempo and quality of our days. Already I can barely remember a time when I didn’t drink red wine.

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