A bottle of wine from St Emilion, perfect for a special Devon celebration.

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Christmas is coming and we have guests so I thought I would start planning now and make sure I am as prepared as I can be. Of course it would not be Christmas without a small tipple or two so I thought I would look at my modest wine collection and see if I had anything special to put on the table for the big day.

I pulled out a bottle that has been on pole position for a while. I have been saving it for the right moment if you see what I mean. Only to be opened at a time of extraordinary festivity. One of my all time favourites, it is a St Emilion Grand Cru Classe from Chateau Franc Mayne, this one from the year 1998. For me it does not get much better than that and before you question or admire my choice, it was a gift from a very good friend who had purchased a few cases a long time ago and laid them down so to speak. I know in terms of aged vintage wine this is a mere stripling but to me and what I am normally used to, it has provenance.

It was several years ago when my pal opened a bottle of the same wine at a New Years day lunch at his house and after my favourable comments about it most generously gave me this bottle. He was slowly working through his precious collection, only imbibing it at exceptional celebrations, so I was flattered by his big-heartedness. It was also made even more special in that we were former colleagues as well as friends, and as he had bought the wine before we met, all that we had endured together in our busy careers, was for me, encapsulated in that bottle.

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Anyone born that year will be a teenager now, excitedly looking forward to their presents which will more than likely consist of a “smart” form of interaction and computation due to the need to be constantly available to the daily drivel we now take as communication, this blog illustrating that fact perfectly.

Since the initial harvesting of the grapes to make this wine we have produced a generation of “pokers and strokers” spending a large proportion of their waking hours prodding brightly lit touch screens, keyboards and keypads. Technology having moved on to a level that would have been unbelievable when the wine was first bottled.

For me, a lot of the pleasure in a good bottle of wine is in its simplicity, the physical handling of the bottle, reading the label and trying to understand the love and devotion that went in to producing it by the vineyard owner and his family.

Wars have been fought, won and lost in the time this wine has rested and developed, awaiting the twist of the corkscrew and the gentle easing of the cork prior to being poured to face its ultimate destiny. To ensure this fulfilment, my role is to serve it at the right temperature and allow it to draw sufficient breath to give of its best at the point of entering the complex sensory system that is the human body, encouraging feedback and analysis.

Anyway, enough of this and to the purpose of this post. “What was your decision Andy”?

Well to be honest, in the end, I decided I couldn’t bring myself to open it on Christmas day this year.

I have given it a lot of thought and I am going to save it for a very special occasion.

Merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year to one and all…

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