Kinky Friedman has a title called Elvis, Jesus & Coca Cola. It's a reference to the fact that these are the three most recognised brands on the globe. Nice to believe that Jesus can lay claim to being a celeb wine maker (the Cana gig) as well as to bringing the whole wine thing into mainstream religous culture. On the other hand things do seem to have changed since the Romans....
This brings me in an untidy fashion around to a modern day vine pilgrim. A possible harbinger of an ancient civilisation; a religous believer in the inherant value of the vine as a symbol of self and place within the Elvis, Jesus and CocaCola world! I refer to Uncle Richard.
Regular Readers, God bless 'em all, will remember a column I wrote in '04 about Uncle Richard's grapes. I bared my innermost uncivil thoughts in that column. I expressed envy and jealousy towards the quality of Uncle Richard's Black Muscat grown oustside in the southern suburbs of Dublin. Ireland; as John Prine would say.
Oh Boy, did they look good.
Uncle Richard had a natural heat sink at the back end of his patio. It made the back wall of my garden in Celbridge seem like a scene from a frozen gulag. I was fond of my terroir but try as I might I just could not ripen my grapes as well as Uncle Richard could.
By harvest time Uncle Richard invariably had grapes galore to make a few bottles of vintage Blackrock. I made jam.
See what I mean! That collander is my total 2005 harvest.
Last week Uncle Richard upped sticks and moved house. As with explorers of old he left his home vineyard behind. Along with his prized possessions he carefully packed a rooted new vine. When I saw it last week it was growing well. It had been lovingly tucked into a pint glass filled to a quarter with brown slimy water. This baby was cut from the mother vine a few short weeks ago. It will now be transported to a new terroir. My chance has arrived.
Sure didn't it take the Romans hundreds of years to re-establish their vines into the South of France. Some would say that without religous intervention Uncle Richard may have a few problems getting his grapes up again for quite a while. And the last I heard his new place looked nothing like a closed monastery.......
The shame is it hasn't stopped raining for the last forty days and forty nights. Yesterday was St Swithans and it poured out of the heavens all evening long. All good vineyard managers will know that in forty days time I should be looking at well formed grapes! The agony. They are just tiny marbles as we speak.
I may not have a harvest at all this year. But then Uncle Richard won't have another decent return for at least three years. May be its time to bring in a consultant. That'll show him. I'll get a few RP points down while he's not looking and before anyone guesses I'll change consultants. I'll blame the changing house style on soil development, biodynamicism, a warming planet, a wettening planet, micro oxygenation.
Mondevino, I love you to pips.
Uncle Richard, my vintage has arrived.