I remember in one of my earliest articles for this newspaper. I was on a wine trip in France and had to get my 'copy' to the editor in time for the deadline. That old word 'copy' makes it sound like I thought I was Clarke Kent or a hardnosed reporter covering the latest corruption in City Hall.
In fact, I was travelling through Provence and ended up in the Luberon in a little village called Lourmarin. I had a long lazy lunch in a caf veranda and started writing my article in a little notebook. I think this was the moment I veered the writing away from the traditional fact based pieces on wine and went for the whole "mind dump" approach. This is where I start writing exactly what's in my head at that exact moment and seeing where it takes me.
If along this merry dance we integrate wine, then so be it. Why am I explaining my writing approach to you? I get pangs of guilt from time to time about these little tangents into my dream world and often worry whether they annoy people. However, after a very busy period in work, the post Christmas time off allowed me to catch up on my life and do the normal things again.
This could be a trip to the gym or swimming pool or even a night out in the local pub. Still no golf I am afraid. On these little jaunts I met a number of people who read the article and going on the straw poll of four, it seems the rant is an integral part of the articles. They will remain for the moment.
I will however veer away from the less than obvious product placement of recent articles and talk in more generic terms. What could be more generic than the after-effects of over-indulgence this Christmas? We were without water for nearly a week and with two small kids, it is not ideal. However, when you add to that the said same over-indulgence, then the sanctuary that the lavatory might be now becomes a house of horrors. It was more than once that I called on the neighbours begging for water this Christmas. And enough said about that the better methinks.
Coming back to the unsettled stomachs that tortured many households this Christmas, I will try and offer some tips that may help you the next time you go out and over-indulge on wine. There are of course people with the constitutions of a horse, but I am talking about us mere mortals who can't eat and drink any amount of food and wine without consequence.
The first tip is obvious but constantly ignored. Don't mix your drinks in excess. You can of course have a little glass of bubbly as an aperitif, a small glass of white with the starter, but after that you really need to choose sides. Are you drinking red or white? Make a decision and stick to it.
If you are having more mammoth style events that encompass the dreaded second night session, then you really have to avoid highly acidic wines. Your stomach will already be terribly sensitive and throwing down wines that will make it gurgle even more is not the thing to do. Therefore, begone Sauvignon Blanc and Chianti – you are not welcome on the second night. Seek out a Pinot Noir or Chardonnay and your stomach will thank you.
I have talked before about the added sugar in cheaper long haul wines and a lot of the time this will be the cause of your pain. A couple of Euro more can make a huge difference the morning after. You do get what you pay for with wine if all things are equal. How many hours of lost productivity the following day, be it at home or at work are caused by the pounding in the head? An extra three Euros on the wine could have saved you a fortune.
A short article this week and it's already late for publication so I hope the New Year is treating you well and the water is back and the toilets are flushing once more.
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"Life is much too short to drink bad wine"