We’re getting ready for wife & sonshine to fly out to Taiwan tomorrow for 3 weeks en famille there; I need to stay here for work though, which is a shame - it’s been a while now since I’ve been back to Taiwan.
However, I’d be a bare-faced liar if I said I wasn’t also looking forwards to a spot of me-time and me-in-control-of-my-time. I really do enjoy time alone with me myself & I, and you don’t tend to get much of that with a night-owl 7-year-old in the house.
So today & tomorrow morning will be the usual hullabaloo of packing, presents for the family, cooking sonshine’s favourite tea tonight etc etc. Followed by a very very quiet house for 3 weeks!
I’m about half way through mine, but we’re waiting until we’re all done so no one person’s views get overrepresented.
Also we met Jancis. She’s lovely. It was also amazing to watch how she worked compared to the other professionals. She was stood at a table with a laptop open, went and took two wines at a time and wrote up her full notes as she went along. Others wizzed round scribbling notes (or not, I didn’t see Matthew Jukes write anything) as they went along at different speeds (Olly Smith wizzed around, Fiona Beckett was first in/last out). The younger critics/influencers all arrived a lot later and talked to each other far more about what they were tasting and compared notes far more (I possibly should check Libby Brodie’s insta stories to see if the me laughing in the background of an attempted “using a spittoon” video made the cut [Edit: I didn’t, however there’s a lovely shot of @Winestwit getting his selfie with Amelia Singer]).
The only pre-release spoiler I’ll give is that wine is nice.
There seem to be no hard and fast rules re taste, smell etc, during my hospilisation with covid as an extra, it was noticeable that when I started to come round my smell and taste was all over the place, some items were overly powerful, eggs for instance all had a strange boring flat taste, some drinks were like water and others a lot stronger.
Smell was either very strong or totally missing, all very odd but nearly back to normal now.
Other people I spoke to said either similar or completely different!
Interesting… I got ‘IT’ very early on before it was official - no tests, no vaccine. Boris was swanning off on hols whilst Covid hit the UK.
Absolutely floored me - never had anything like it. ‘Taste & smell’ were the longest to recover, two or three months. I found that sparkling wine was the way back 'cos it seemed to register on the taste buds.
The Chardonnays were quite rich but also quite lean, the days of big buttery finish are gone.
The reds were all good, Margaret was a standout as well as 2018 Cabernet. The 2019s are good but slightly lighter - cooler vintage, softer tannins and more approachable. None of these wines are big and bold, far more restrained, multi layered and complex. Fabulous.
So we left once more after several years away, back to Perth, and hope to get back in a few years.
Spent the morning at RSPB Rye Meads yesterday. As I arrived at about 9:30 I got a brief glimpse of a kingfisher before I had a chance to get my camera ready. 20 minutes later the female appeared on the twig on the far side of the pond. After a few seconds she flew into the nest hole and then a bird emerged but this was clearly the male who then had a few dives to clean his feathers. After another 30 minutes the male reappeared with a fish, and after calling for the female, she appeared from the nest hole and he passed the fish to her. So it would seem that there are now probably eggs in the nest hole and the pair are brooding them.
Spent yesterday morning doing a long (2.5 hours ) tasting at Vinden Wines in the Hunter Valley catching up with Angus Vinden 4 years since our last visit to the area and the estate. Really lovely mix of wines and great surroundings. Box of toys for the 4 year old was a godsend! Lots of exciting things going on. Tasted some 23s in barrel and tank which were also . Suitcase is going to be a struggle…