So after all this time plugging away at Sediment, how much free promotional drink have we managed to acquire? Candidly: we've had eight bottles. Eight bottles between the two of us. Over five years. And three of those were supplied in an access of pity by another, more successful, blog. I mean, this was one of the principal reasons for doing it in the first place, to get free samples, because otherwise what's the point? It's not even as if we have any scruples which might have landed us in this position. We'll take anybody's drink, whatever it is, provided it doesn't cost anything and we don't have to collect it. But the drink almost never comes.
Given that this is underwhelmingly where we are, you'd think I might make a better job of the one freebie which has come my way this year, and yes, I'm talking about Blason de Bourgogne Chablis which arrives courtesy of the altogether unimprovable Cube Communications, complete with a first-rate instructions sheet (the wine is 'Fine-boned and pure') plus tasting notes ('crystalline purity to the nose', 'crunchy orchard fruits', 'linear') so I don't have to do any thinking. And it tells me to pair it with 'a shellfish platter and goats' cheese', with that sophisticated positioning of the apostrophe to indicate that I'm the kind of guy who eats cheeses made from the milk of more than one goat, so freebooting yet discerning is my palate.
So. I go and get my bottle, which has been delivered to PK's house, but which I feel does not technically put it in breach of the no collection rule.
'You are going to write about it?' PK says, clearly thinking that it's something he'd be better suited to.
'Of course,' I say, taking the bottle home, placing it reverentially in my empty wine rack, admiring its sleek proportions and dignified labelling, and then forgetting about it.
A few of days later, in an abstracted state, I pull the thing out, chill it, open it, and drink about half the contents. I have nothing with which to write any tasting notes; in fact, I am barely aware of what I am drinking, other than to observe that it has a cork, not my usual style, and goes down without making my eyes water or my chest clench, again, not my usual style. I dispatch the rest a day or so after that, still only half-aware that this is a quality wine - which means that either it isn't a quality wine at all and that its virtues are so modest they barely cut through the dull ache which I recognise as consciousness; or that I can no longer tell the difference between good and bad wines. The latter seems more compelling, but whatever else, it certainly means that I have taken my one authentic gift of the year and squandered it. I have also thrown away the piece of paper containing crystalline purity. And the bottle. In fact, the Blason de Bourgogne Chablis might as well not have existed.
Then, of course, PK starts enquiring after it, have I drunk it yet, how am I finding it? I am now a fourteen year old schoolboy, obliged to explain that not only have I not done the homework, but have lost the materials I needed to do it with. This is clearly a huge test of PK's inner decency, but instead of punching me or storming out of the room, he re-supplies the peripheral material while stopping short of letting me have his bottle of Blason de Bourgogne Chablis in order that I might re-taste the wine I forgot to taste while I was tasting it. All I can do now is summon up a ghost memory of linearity, oh, and 'green leaves' which are 'draped around a steely core of minerality'. And I'm not saying it didn't possess any of those characteristics.
I can see that if you wanted to promote a wine, then Sediment, on this showing, might not be the best shop window. What can I do? How can I reclaim the integrity which I have clearly abandoned, not just in PK's eyes, but in the eyes of Cube Communications, assuming they're paying any attention to this, and French winemakers generally? This is what happens when you let your standards slip: I've not only let PK down, I've let down the makers of Blason de Bourgogne Chablis, and, worst of all, I've let myself down. Although, let's not kid ourselves, that last one happens most days anyway.