A toast to the Beaujolais Nouveau.
(Yesterday in France, maybe elsewhere too, lots of wine buffs and general keen wine drinkers got together to taste the first bottles of Beaujolais, to sniff and to make informed comments.)
A toast to the lady in the wine shop who invited us all the way in to taste three different Beaujolais, despite the fact that we only wanted a petit vin at 4 euros. She offered us a neat rose of salami slices, listened to our uninformed opinions. The bald man butted in too, recounting the history of Beaujolais Day (it’s not called that). It was generally companionable and nice.
A toast to this stupid country, the France that provides me with angry tears from its illogical rules (I have to take a badminton exam? what?) then follows up with free wine, no snobism in sight. She even lets you drink out of non-wine glasses.
And in the spirit of tipsy sentimentality, to my dad, who had a collector’s love of wine and the mental encyclopaedia to go with it, and to my mother, who has just written a marvellous cookbook.
What would you like to eat with your red wine aperitif? Delicate cheese biscuits, conjured in a quarter of an hour? The subversive prunes wrapped in prosciutto? Maybe the pear and ricotta croutons or the beefy sausage rolls with goat’s cheese that I haven’t quite posted yet…
While you’re waiting, pour yourself a glass and go toast someone else, someone you like very much.