Wednesday 14 September 2011

Sunday morning wine – Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato

Sometimes, you come across a concept of which the very linguistic construction suggests a potential shift in your lifestyle. It’s like the first time you hear of onboard wi-fi, the staycation or slip-on shoes.

Thanks to an invitation from Liberty Wines  CJ and I were able to sample some of Australia’s premium wines; and it was there I heard Innocent Bystander winery, from the Yarra Valley, describe their Pink Moscato as “a Sunday morning wine”.

It was like a revelation. I’m sure there are many differences between Sunday mornings in the Yarra Valley and those in London. But the mere notion of a “Sunday morning wine” suddenly changed the whole prospect of waking up at the weekend.

Readers of a certain age will remember this television ad from the 1980s for the Halifax, which infected my generation with its smug notion of a loft-living lifestyle, “easy like a Sunday morning”. And such a Sunday morning, with a Docklands apartment, cat, coffee, cool music and a crisp white shirt. Oh, and the only newspaper seller in London who is positively cheery in the morning, and is happy to accept notes from a cashpoint without responding “Ain’t you got nuffink smaller, mate?”

But time moves on. You can tell that lifestyle’s a thing of the past, if only because the chap in the ad gets his milk in a bottle. By now, he has hopefully found a more significant other than a cat to share his bed; and perhaps he has even progressed through the assault course years known as parenthood, during which mornings are anything but bloody “easy”, and through which he is unlikely to have retained yawning warehouse doors opening five floors up.

Personally, I always fancied Sunday mornings like those at Downton Abbey
descending to find a range of cooked dishes such as kedgeree lining the dining room under silver domes. For some reason, Mrs K hasn’t quite got round to this provision. And my average Sunday morning begins, unlike the Earl of Grantham, by waking up with hair like Einstein; getting up before anyone else in my slumbering household; and trudging downstairs to interpret the premises like a crime scene.

How many offspring and/or guests might be lurking in the bedrooms? What did they eat last night, and if the tins are anything to go by, how could it involve both tuna and baked beans? Are any bottles in the recycling and, if so, are they from the (acceptable) kitchen rack or the (forbidden) Cellar? And is anything meant to be consumed at this time of day, like milk/bread/eggs/coffee, actually left in the house? Sadly, things here remain resolutely downtown rather than Downton.

So could a Sunday morning wine transport me from reality? (Of which, as we know, human kind cannot bear very much, and since waking I had tolerated at least half an hour.)

Innocent Bystander’s Pink Moscato is a gorgeous, flamingo pink, and comes in a cutely shaped half-bottle for about £6.95, with the all-or-nothing consumption that a crown cap (like a beer) suggests.

I’m immediately thinking verandahs, dappled morning sunlight, warm breeze, birdsong – none of which, it goes without saying, applied this week at our humble abode. Here in London it’s already too late in the year to sit outside on a Sunday morning, and it’s not my idea of fun to eat breakfast in a fleece, under a grey sky with drizzle in your muesli. No, to me that sounds too much like a music festival…

Made from Gordo and Black Muscat grapes, this wine it is breathtakingly sweet, at a level which would normally make my teeth wince. But the crispness and effervescence keeps it light, and away from the cloying dessert-wine syrup you might expect. So it’s actually fresh and bright, but with an overwhelmingly strawberry flavour and floral bouquet.

It’s like a Bellini made with strawberries, or a Buck’s Fizz, but better. (Buck’s is the only significant gentlemen’s club to be founded since the First World War, and unlike most of the Pall Mall clubs I have visited, so very handy for the shops; but its great creation, Buck’s Fizz, is surely fatally flawed by both its acidity, and its bits).

The Pink Moscato is still 5.5% alcohol, which puts it just a notch above Strongbow cider; and if someone came downstairs at 9am they would be rightly concerned to find me swigging from a can of Strongbow with breakfast.

But the half-bottle is just right for two. If person two actually gets up before you finish it…

Pink Moscato doesn’t brighten the weather, but it does begin to brighten one’s attitude towards it. It’s just so much more stylish than a carton of fruit juice. I find myself feeling somehow celebratory, even reading the magazine section first. Things seem to be looking up, God’s in his heaven, all’s right with the world…and yes indeed, the chap does arrive on time to clear out the gutters!

Plus, drinking wine at breakfast gets you out of some of the more irksome aspects of a Sunday morning. No, I can’t drive to the supermarket, I’m probably over the limit. No, I shouldn’t trim the hedge, I’m a trifle unsteady. No, that DIY involving the power drill may not be a good idea.

Oh, this is brilliant. I should probably go back to bed…



  1. Crown cap wine? Is this what we've come to?

  2. I absolutely love this wine, perfect for drinking anytime of day, including breakfast :) Get over the crown cap Pongo!

  3. This sounds and looks delicious. I can't wait to try this Moscato on Sunday morning like you said.

  4. I recently had Moscato at a Sunday brunch and it was so delicious.


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