By Anna Scott
‘Hectic modern lifestyle blah blah blah… no time to go to proper shops etc etc… barely time to breath let alone carry out a meaningful conversation…..’ You get my drift. But this (hopefully) isn’t going to be one of those posts. Instead of banging on about how rubbish modern life is I’m going to concentrate on finding a solution to the problem of the modern wine customer. Especially those modern wine customers who happen to be a lot like me.
The problem is this. I am not, by nature, a forward planner. I am not the most organised of souls. I install a certain degree of spontaneity into my existence. The trouble occurs when it comes to choosing and /or opening a bottle of wine. Invariably (mostly because of the lack of organisation mentioned above) I never have a suitable bottle of wine to hand for whatever occasion demands it. And because of the pressures of the modern retail environment (and also because I live in one of west London’s less chi chi areas), I do not have a good wine shop to hand when I need one, the sort of place you can pop to in a ‘wine emergency’. A store every wine drinker needs, one that is not only stocked with a good range of honestly-priced bottles but also a couple of members of knowledgeable staff who can wax lyrical about a wine they genuinely love rather than one that’s on clearance. Ah, the good old days… Anyway, my nearest establishment is a fifteen minutes bus ride away, not convenient if you need to something open in about five.
The other evening I needed a wine that would sit quite well besides our curry. I’d left it a bit late (of course) and my only option was to walk to the local supermarket around the corner. I was optimistic. I thought there was at least a small chance they would have a bottle of something reasonably fruity and drinkable, but when I got there I was faced with not one, not five but ten, count ‘em, TEN types of Pinot Grigio. And they were accompanied by five types of Sauvignon Blanc.
Now this is where my spontaneity lets me down a bit. It’s all very well flying by the seat of your pants, but when the only thing that’s fuelling this journey is sub-standard Pinot Grigio you’ve got to stop and question whether you might need to change tack.
So here is the potential solution to my problems – I go for a complete about-turn. I become the most organised wine drinker there ever was. I use spreadsheets detailing every potential wine-drinking occasion. I cross reference these with potential wine matches and budget and then I bite the bullet and order in a few cases. I make sure I have at least two bottles chilled at any one time, just in case, and the only this emergency supplies I will ever have to buy from the local supermarket are bread and milk.
Excellent solution! It may take all the fun out of wine but at least I’ll always have the perfect bottle to hand at any one time. Except… well you see, I quite like books. I have quite a few of them in both physical and digital form. And yet when I’m looking for something new to read and I scour my shelves, you know what happens? I can’t find anything I fancy and I go and buy a new book.
So perhaps a happy medium is required. A bit more forward planning and the occasional case order and a bit less running around like a headless chicken in the supermarket aisles. Either that or someone out there opens a great wine shop on Brentford High Street. Anyone?