And on the subject of tipples, but before we get to the poets, whilst still soporific this morning (20.12.08) I heard a Radio 2 voice informing me that one of our police forces (Kent?) has issued its officers with a list of words that are difficult or impossible to say after having over-imbibed. (World shortage of breathalysers perhaps?) I didn't get all the words, but they included: innovative, preliminary and transubstantiation. The Radio 2 voice later suggested that aurora borealis (which have been Christened The Northern Christmas Lights, apparently) might be added to the list. So here's a sort of Christmas challenge for anyone foolish enough to take it on: using those 4 words, write a Christmas poem that only we more sober souls will be able to read aloud on Christmas Day.
And now to those tipples... This is a recycled (i.e. expanded and much improved) version of a post I made a year ago in which I got to wondering what if some of our best poets had become producers, not of poetry, but of fine wines? Are these the sort of wines we might have been enjoying this year?
A generous, authoritative, rather earthy wine with a peaty, even gritty flavour and holding a wide range of subtle hints needing to be teased out by a knowledgable and sensitive drinker. Nevertheless, it is easy to like on first acquaintance and has become highly popular as a result. It comes into its own when accompanying a serious meat dish, but can be tenjoyed with any dish - or with none.
A somewhat grandiloquent wine, at times having more the characteristics of a slightly sticky liqueur. Ideal for the grand occasion, though be warned that this fine, slightly hallucinatory drink, has suggestions both of majesty and rebellion in its heady bouquet.
A wine for all occasions, having great strength and clarity of both colour and bouquet. It is the perfect accompaniment for the big occasion or the gourmet meal, though it will not let you down at party time.
I know of connoisseurs who consider this a low-alcohol drink. They are wrong. If few have menaged to become incapacitated on the strength of it, many they are who have grown merry with its help..
A dry white with a sensuous texture, often missed until the palate has been acquired.
The product of a robust grape that thrives in either of two soils, the one resulting in a refreshingly wild and unambiguous flavour, the other in a cloud of hints and associations.
W. H. Auden
A serious taste beneath a lively, jovial bouquet. A wine for either public or private occasions.
W. S. Graham
The punch with a punch. The first draught may be totally befuddling, but eventually - probably a day or two later - a cold clarity will hit. And you will never forget that you drank! No spirits and only the finest grapes are used, those that are the result of geography, of the soil, the climate, the very atmosphere in which they grew. Remarkable then, how well it travels!
A quiet, restrained and unassuming wine that by eschewing fashion has won for itself considerable popularity among discerning drinkers.
One for the connoisseur, having in both its taste and its aroma many associations to be enjoyed by the cognoscenti.
A severe wine with an enduring, uncomplicated flavour. A happy complement to simple fare.
Edith Sitwell once referred to this wine as "thick and uncouth", which is strange, considering its allusive and tantalising nature. Perfect with a light meal.
A traditional wine, though with more than a touch of the free spirit. Ideal for the picnic hamper on a hot, sunny day, or to accompany a Mediterranean-style meal. A wine for lovers everywhere.
Even as you draw the cork you will feel the presence of the English countryside. It could not have come from anywhere else.
A dry white wine with a spare, wry flavour.
A supple, dark and sexy red.