Jonathan Ray Jonathan Ray

Wine Club 16 December

I can’t lie to you, I hate this time of year. I further admit to being a fully paid-up member of the Bah Humbug Brotherhood and a long-time sufferer of Christmas Affected Doom, Depression and Despondency (known to anyone who will listen, such as sympathetic barmen and random strangers in the Dog and Vomit as CADDAD), a ghastly condition that flares up around mid-October and lasts until January. And it only gets worse as one gets older.

Sadly, there’s no known cure, although symptoms can be alleviated a little by taking November and December off in the Caribbean or the Maldives, alone, with Netflix, a box of books, some decent grub and a well-stocked minibar. The main problem, as I’ve said before, is that the start of the festive season sees the end of digestive reason, as we gorge on dishes so tasteless that we decline to eat them the rest of the year. I speak, of course, of roast turkey with all its dire ‘trimmings’, mince, or rather, wince pies and Christmas pudding, which is so unspeakable that we set fire to it.

The Brussels sprouts alone are delicious, as anyone who has puréed them with butter, cream and a touch of nutmeg, or parboiled them, cut them in half and stir-fried them with almonds or pine nuts and tiny bits of diced bacon, will tell you. Oh and the red cabbage. I do love red cabbage!

However, just because the festive grub is grim, it doesn’t mean that the wine should be so, too. Indeed, it’s only the thought of some fine bottles stashed away that gets me through the whole damn caboodle. Well–chosen vino is absolutely crucial, and, thanks to the good offices of Corney & Barrow and a lengthy tasting on my part (entirely on your behalf), that is what we are offering here.

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