So that’s it, a month on the wagon almost done and dusted. Hurrah! You might recall that owing to a spat over some liqueur chocolates, Mrs Ray declared that I was in clear breach of the Dry January code and promptly zapped me with a one-week penalty, now almost spent.
Allies of mine – Dave and Tony down the pub – voiced serious concerns about how the investigation was carried out and question just how independent Mrs R’s independent ethics adviser is, given that she’s her sister (who gave me the chocs in the first place). I plan to appeal.
Meanwhile, I’m free to taste wine so long as I don’t swallow (as if!) and positively basked in the bottles that Robin Davis and the gang at Swig sent me. As you’ll see, I failed to narrow the selection down to six but refuse to apologise.
2021 Laurence de Veyrac Viognier (1) from the limestone hills behind the Bassin de Thau in south-west France is extremely genial. Soft, creamy and dry, with suggestions of peach and apricot, it’s perfect aperitif fare. £11.48 down from £13.50.
The 2022 Salt River Sauvignon Blanc (2), made from old bush vine Sauvignon in Stellenbosch by Duncan Savage – Tim Atkin’s South Africa Winemaker of the Year and Platter’s Producer of the Year – is gorgeous. It’s beautifully textured, concentrated, intense, succulent and pure with restrained citrus and asparagus. £15.26 down from £17.95.
The 2021 Flint Vineyard Silex Blanc (3) is a 60/40 Chardonnay/Pinot Blanc blend from the Waveney Valley in Norfolk, of all places. We all know how fine English fizz can be – well, so can the still whites. Fermented and aged in oak, it’s soft, supple and creamy with hints of baked apple and honey with a crisp finish.