We all have our own milestones in life.
Some people tell themselves they’ll have made it when they finally get that bmw they’ve always lusted after; others, when they have their first child. Or their first million. For other people still, their life truly attains meaning only once they have undertaken a stage-managed execution of a large predatory beast that, thanks to odds stacked monumentally in its disfavour, has absolutely no fucking chance of defending itself.
(Ah! To be a True Man!)
But I? I, dear reader, am — relatively speaking — humility itself.
I tell myself that I’ll have made it when I have my own cellar.
NO, NOT IN A JOSEF FRITZL KIND OF WAY, YOU ABSOLUTE FUCKING MESS. GET OUT NOW.
Unfortunately, see, Old Parn is forever schlepping his arse from one rented hovel to the next. And the rented hovels of Oxford, it seems, are low on cellars.
(They are also, FYI, low on pianos. Irrelevant but true.)
The point? For, of course, there is always a point, my pretties, isn’t there? Yah. The point is that the very best place for the above-depicted bottle of Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 would be a cellar.
A cellar. Alongside 11 other bottles of Balgownie Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, if you please.
Because this is a wine I have done something of a disservice by killing before its prime (and, seamlessly, we’re back to Vladimir Putin again). In 5–10 years, it’ll be fucking delicious. No mistake.
Right now, it’s formidable — commingling fruit and wood and frost and metal. Bracing stuff. In the same way that rugby on a frost-hardened pitch in mid-January was (apparently) also bracing.
As you’d expect (if you’ve been paying attention so far, not allowing your mind to wander to fleeting visions of the Russian President’s naked torso), there’s a welter of tannin going on in this mouthful, which gives it more backbone than a frigging brontosaurus.
It filleth thy gob.
There’s pepper and, yeah, fat juicy black olives squished between the back of your tongue and the roof of your mouth. That bit where it’s all slimy and squishy. Yes, right there. But don’t keep poking around, alright? You’ll only make yourself sick.
What else? In the catalogue of flavours (never convinced how interesting this is to read, but still) we have ticks next to liquorice, parma violet and young sour blackberries.
Sniff (if you dare) and you’re hit with that huge, almost impenetrable board-pen smell. Well, obviously it doesn’t actually smell like a board-pen. That would be horrible, and this is, in fact, lovely. But you know how a board-pen’s smell absolutely fills up your whole nasal world and makes you almost cry with the intensity of it?
(NO I HAVE NOT BEEN ABUSING SOLVENTS.)
Well, this is like that in its intensity. Dude.
The length is great, the balance is great. The wine is powerful, matt, complex.
All great, then. And drinking it right now, I’d give it three solid, solid stars. If that’s what you’re going to do, then you should definitely decant the old boy well in advance to let him breathe and relax a little. To, um, massage that huge backbone a little, y’know.
But, oh sweet messiah, how those three stars would multiply (I have no doubt) after a good few years in the quiet, the cool, the dark.
A good few years in my non-existent cellar, in other words.
In anticipation of which, I’m upping the rating to 4. But only if you’re patient.
Well, you big smug cellar-owning bastard, buy a case of it then, why don’t you? Leave a comment with a link to a photo of it in your goddamn cellar, alongside you, smirking like a fat little oik.
I HOPE YOU’RE HAPPY NOW.
★★★★ (but only ★★★ if, like me, you persist in drinking it now)
£13.50 from The Wine Society
, £15.99 from Marks & Spencer