Wine: Heard it on the grapevine – 25 September

Wine, one sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bliss of dreams. Be wise and taste.

~ John Milton  


Right you mothers, you’re here, you made it. What’s your tipple? RED WINE. You go to Holloway, so you drink WINE. Fucking lots of it, guzzle it till your vision blurs, your teeth stain purple, and you blissfully conquer all in your path. So you’re new, you like wine, but where to begin with this most enigmatic of drinks? Fortunately, I’m here to crack this one, Mr. Sherlock. For this edition, we are looking at the big bad boy of Bordeaux claret: the “fuck you” of French Wines. It can be none other than Châteauneuf-du-Pape. A tad on the expensive side, but hey: why do you think this one features early? You’ve just got your student loan! Let’s have a gander shall we?

This big bad boy can range from £12 to £12,000, sometimes higher. It’s a mean and ferociously delicious Red. Assuming £12,000 is a little above our student budget, lets look at the £12. Head on down to Tesco, locate those gorgeous red bottles, and look for the French section. Yes, £12 is still dear, but come on, you’ll spend just as much at the VK bar in the SU. Normally from the 2008 vintage, it’s a cracker and very popular. Its distinctive bottle uses the Papal Keys as its crest (hence ‘Pape’) and is a magnificent bottle. Even the bottle is great decoration for your room. Furthermore, you can lay this bad boy down, and it will age nicely for many a happy year. But you are a student, a brave thinker and a rebel: drink the damned thing. The sad truth about wine: to enjoy, you must destroy. But let’s get on with it. This is what you can expect.

Let’s delve our noses in, give that monster a sniff. BOOM. It is strong, thick and heavy. Give it another whiff. Immediately we’re getting black berries, cherry, and chocolate poking through, with big snaps of pepper and hints of strawberry. Really get you nose in, give it a twirl in the glass, put some oxygen into it and release more of the aromas.  Tilt the glass and let the wine run back down. This is called the legs. Notice its viscosity, how thick it is, and how slowly it rolls back into the base of the glass. Now taste – you can feel its immense power and voluptuousness. It’s rich, velvety and would go amazing with a slice of cheddar or meat. It has a delicious oak quality, with a slight spice. Like great sex, the finish leaves you seduced and placid. You surrender to it, then bask in its calm chocolaty ambience. You will have no regrets trying this wine – to celebrate your arrival at the king of universities, buy yourself the king of wine.

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