The first draft of Salt & Old Vines will be submitted on May 14th. That's ten days from now, and I've an awful lot of writing to do in the meantime. The whole publishing schedule has been laid out - it's exciting and scary and soon. Which means that the stack of tasting notes and reports from both Burgundy and the Rhone will have to wait that little bit longer.
I've continued to drink wine and enjoyed some things that have really blown me away of late. I went to Danny Cameron's remarkable Big Fortified Tasting and, though I didn't have much time, was utterly impressed by not only the wines available to sample, but the extraordinary enthusiasm of both the exhibitors and the attendees. I tasted as much Sherry as I could, grabbed a sneak peak of the 2011 Vintage Ports (Graham's "The Stone Terraces" was rather nice, as it should be), and managed to get hold of a signed copy of that new Sherry book that everyone (who's a total nerd about sherry) is talking about. Old Madeira was, as usual, amazing. People should drink fortified wine more often.
In the non-fortified universe, I've been enjoying Guy Farge's Saint-Josephs from both 2010 and 2011. Mas Brunet continues to do wonderful things in the Terraces du Larzac. Look for both those things. A half dozen native oysters at Ivan's in Howth matched perfectly with a bottle of basic Picpoul de Pinet. I've forgotten the producer as it was an off-duty lunch. But I'm pretty sure great oysters and good Picpoul won't ever let you down.
Back to sherry: had some of Lustau's Old East India with a slice of warm ginger cake. Not quite as harmonious as the Picpoul and oysters, but pretty bloody close.
Sampled a whole bunch of stuff on the enomatics at Hedonism. Ygay Gran Reserva 2004 stands out among them all as being true class.
I tried a whole bunch of shitty Chiantis and Super-Tuscans. They're not imported into the UK. Crossing my fingers it stays that way.
I'm really loving wine at the moment, just in general. If it didn't have that terrible tendency to make me drunk and sleepy, I'd be drinking even more of it. I'll just have to settle for writing a book about making it instead.