Monday 19 July 2010

Eva's Vineyard Chenin Blanc/Pinot Grigio 2009

Our Waitrose has just had a facelift - as part of which, its already extensive wine selection has been re-housed in shades of cappuccino and fired earth, with about fifty per cent more drink on display, shimmering and glistening under the halogens, and it looks beautiful, profuse and superabundant and daunting. When I look at it I feel obscurely doomed, as if I have lost life's race already but am being shown the trophies that the luckier and more talented competitors are about to get their hands on.

But I am brave and resolute and have little or no shame. My life is simple because I have no money. Price is my god, and the cheapest Waitrose wine I could find last week cost £3.99 a bottle, so the decision more or less made itself. All right, not the absolute cheapest, because that was a sinister-looking medium-sweet Lambrusco, but the cheapest which satisfied the necessary criteria, including a) screw top b) dryness c) from a country I associate, however tangentially, with wine production d) cheapness, i.e. demonstrably under £5 a bottle.

As it turned out, there were one or two gate-crashers at the party coming in at £3.99, including some plainly fight-inducing reds, but Eva's Vineyard, a white, got the gig mainly on account of its swanky label, handsome gold screw top, and classy vintage (2009).

And back-label copy, always a guarantee of quality. This 'Delicious example of an indigenous Hungarian blend,' contained 'soft floral aromas and delicate fruit flavours of fresh peaches and summer fruits,' which made it sound like a fascinating synthetic pudding, and in some ways it was. Once I'd chilled it down to just above freezing and had got over the chemical fog rising out of the wine glass, I was able to drink it without undue pain and nod to myself, 'Yes, this really does have floral aromas, topped off with delicate quality bath soap overtones and air freshner peaches.' And from a vineyard 'Perched high on the hills overlooking the River Danube', a phrase full of dreaming melancholy which worked on my imagination for minutes on end, until the first notes of a headache sounded and I started to drink a bit slower.

Drawbacks? None that I can remember, but then, I can't remember much other than that it was a wholly transparent straw-coloured wine beverage whose colour did not change as a result of being exposed to the air, which induced a quite pleasing floral throb in my temples, and neither (unlike some whites) stripped the enamel from my teeth nor caused me to pucker up so violently I had to eat my dinner through a tube. A winner, in other words.

(Note: the accompanying illustration shows the bottle minus contents, as I forgot to take a picture before drinking. It is not a completely transparent, or even invisible, wine)


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