Wednesday 13 June 2012

What I Drank On My Holidays: Badoit

So we went away to Lombardy and the South of France, and, yes, it was as nice as it sounds, and yes, it is hell to be back. And one reason why it was indeed so very nice, was because holiday drinking rules applied, and we all know what that means, the gallimaufry of unfamiliar taste sensations plus overwhelming sentimental light-headedness as the sun sets over the lake, conspiring to fuddle the senses benignly and persistently, causing one to leap to certain new and suddenly unshakeable conclusions, among them

- The only wines worth drinking are Italian. This is on the basis of a bottle of something called, seriously, Crapulone, a red from Lombardy; a rosé called Roselario, also from Lombardy; and a supermarket Chianti from the Como branch of Carrefour which cost only €4 and was nonetheless approximately twice as good as a 4 bottle of British Chianti would have been. The first two were a bit more upscale - that holiday effect - and, as PK would put it, elegant, supple and full of finesse in a way I just don't associate with other wines, wherever they're from. I mean, they weren't especially long on narrative but then narrative is over-rated anyway, just another excuse for excessive buttonholing and finger-wagging and gusts of alcohol and tannins, so, yes, Italy brings delight, brings leggerezza although, meanwhile

- In the Carpentras region of Southern France, staying subsequently with our grand friends who have a house over there, we knocked off (one evening) a couple of bottles of red made by some of their neighbours, and this stuff was spicy, black as ink, extremely tasty, 14.5%, and gave us immense hangovers the next morning. 'I haven't felt like this since I was sixteen,' we all said, shielding our eyes with our hands. A safer wine turned out to be a fantastic Côtes du Rhône Villages, like the Chianti a mere €4, this time from the local SuperU, but tasting, to my way of thinking, well up there with 15+ bottles such as chumps like us are forced to buy in this country

- But either way, great joy of supermarket buying: in Italy, scores (just enough, not too many) of very moderately-priced Italian wines and nothing but Italian wines; in France, scores (just enough) of very moderately-priced French wines and nothing but French wines, all lined up in uniform ranks like the Armée de Terre, the sheer pleasure of having pointless excessive choice taken out of your hands, leaving you free to gawp in a relaxed manner while swarthy men push their trolleys past and women with violent rust-coloured hair con the household cleaners

- And yet, even with all that going on, what was the single most memorable drink of the trip? I don't want to get too Bruce Chatwin about it, but strictly speaking, it was a glass of cold fizzy Badoit with a slice of lemon in it, which I drank after we'd been walking around the Dentelles de Montmirail (blazing sunshine, honey aroma of flowering broom, shedload of vineyards dazzling in their June foliage, not that I want to get all Chatwin, obviously) before finding a tiny café in the shade. The Badoit was about the sweetest thing I can remember drinking, generating small but audible gasps of satisfaction as it went down. There you go. Which means what? That cold and fizzy beats room temperature and still? That water trumps wine? Actually, it means the bloke running the tiny café really knew how to stiff any passing tourists: my small Badoit bottle ended up costing me €2.50. There, indeed, you go


1 comment:

  1. It seems it is the same in South Africa - that is, a wine shop or bottle store will usually have aisle upon aisle of South African wine and not much else, except perhaps the obligatory (and usually dusty) bottle of Moet or Veuve at a ridiculously high price. (The wine is also almost always 14% ABV as a minimum, sometimes as high as 15 or 15.5, and SA wine law allows up to a 1% difference in alcohol content between to what's listen on the label and what's in the bottle, so some could even be up near 16% in reality.)

    In the UK, as a consumer you are used to having a grand selection from all over the world, even in a supermarket. It's true that you pay a large premium for wine here, but you do have tremendous choice!


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