You know what it is, so I ain’t mentioning the C-word. Chances are, you are spending more time holed-up than usual – if not totally isolated with only the sound of the dog’s restlessly wagging tail and the ripe aroma of your own body ash to contend with. What to do? You’re a wine-lover, then this is my advice:
- Drink it Now. Somewhere, stashed away, are a few special bottles. The Gevrey-Chambertin you spent that generous 2006 Christmas bonus on. That bottle of 1934 Malmsey Madeira your now-deceased and then unknowing mother-in-law brought back after a pensioner’s cruise in the Atlantic. Perhaps a rare GS 1966 Cabernet picked-up for a song at a Rotary auction. Point is, there is some booze you have been keeping for….when exactly? What better reason to cry havoc and let slip the corks of meaningless vinous treasures than the possible demise of humankind? Open, drink. Now.
- Read Jancis. Yes, on your bookshelf stands one, two, perhaps all four tomes of The Oxford Companion to Wine, edited by Jancis Robinson MW. Jancis, the world’s most prolific wine writer who churns out fluently worded sentences on wine with the consummate ease of a Chinese construction company erecting a hospital in Wuhan. Chances are, however, those Oxford tomes have been gathering dust. Although through their visible presence they have done a fine job in proving to friends and family that you are a learned, avid wine aficionado. Now’s the time. Open the cover. Jump right in. Trust me, the water is fine. And you’ll emerge on the other side with the kind of wisdom no virus can touch.
- Showtime. Look at yourself. This is the chance to perfect that “Look, I’m drinking wine!”-selfie. Let’s face it, up until now your selfies aimed at showing the world what a diligent follower of the wine universe you are have left a lot to be desired. You are probably not even achieving more than 20 “likes” per Instagram pic, loser! This is because these pictures of yours are more about the subject, namely a wine event, a visit to a cellar, drinking a bottle of Meerlust Rubicon 2009. No, for the perfect selfie must be just that – about you yourself, and you only. The place, the subject, the shining red-rimmed glass, those are all secondary. The photo must capture your own vital image, and all else must be secondary. It is about you, remember? Practise, thus. In your own space, refine the art of taking selfies that present your look, attitude and expertise to the world. Nose edging towards the rim of the glass, an expression of studious concern on the brow, just the slightest gaze towards the camera inviting the person looking at the photo to be curious and envious of who you are and the life you lead. Three diligent days of training and you’ll look like a real influencer, and then watch those likes climb. Because we’ll obviously all like you more. Just don’t say this is not what you want.
- Spitting. Now, in the days when we walked around in wine cellars with the winemaker, we’d taste wine from the barrel and then, after analysing the flavour profile thereof in our alert minds, we’d spit the wine into a bucket or into the grid on the cellar floor. But this: while the winemaker sends his or her wine from mouth-to-bucket with a precise streamlined squirt, your spitting resembles an uncut scene from a Seventies Swedish porno movie or a six-month-old baby tasting fresh deer blood for the first time. Clumsy, wet and gobby. Now’s, thus, the time to perfect the Cellar Master Spit. Stock-up with water, or any other liquid you don’t mind wasting, fill your mouth and concentrate on projecting the stuff in a long, sharp stream into a bucket or in the direction of anyone pissing you off at home. Within two days you’ll be hitting a bird-bath at twelve metres with a smooth, professional-looking stream projected from your practiced pout. Groovy!
5. Time to Score. Your wine geekiness has expressed itself through the assimilation, distribution and communicating of the scores those Wine Experts allocate to your beloved tipple, in vino veritas. Despite having eagerly retweeted such scores or stated at dinner parties that Tim, Greg, or Christian “gave this Cabernet a 90 pointer”, you – like most normal people – don’t have a clue how these scores work. Most of these scorers use a 100pt system. Except for Jancis – she’s a 20s dame. And remembering the time you were at university or even at school, you kind of reckon you know what good, average and bad is when it comes to percentages. Well, wine scoring has thrown all that out of the window, hasn’t it? Imagine coming home with 82% for maths…tit, hey? News for you: in the World of Wine Scoring, a wine that gets 82pts out of 100 is “hardly drinkable”, “poorly made”, “classless”. I kid you not… even 88pts is kind of “average”. And if you are getting 90 (does it get any better!?), then you are barely a “good-sort-of-wine”. Real notice only happens when you strike 93 pts, anything less being so-so. No, I don’t know how it works either. But another three years of self-isolation and you’ll have a vastly better idea as to how Wine Scoring works, another decade and you might even be a critic yourself. (Whoops, forgot not to mention the C-word.)
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