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I think, therefore I drink – Chapter 17

I think, therefore I drink – Chapter 17
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Mitch’s Musings

The season is upon us for summer celebration...

Large and small, the Agricultural shows commence from Highland to Yorkshire, to a small village fete. Chelsea Flower Show has passed, and then there is the turf. Meetings at York and Ascot bring out the hats, and Cheltenham now appears like a memory. My season to date is one of mixed fortune, but enjoyable racing. Roll on the test matches and we have a delightful summer of seasonal sport.

There is also tournament football, where there is a clear division between sides of quality and style of play.

Shame about the election, two cheeks of the same high-taxing bottom go head-to-head. We have the old favourite; economic wet, trained by nanny big state, running against the socialist boy, taught by sinister class hatred, the clear-priced favourite. The outsider, a popular voter, trained by a true conservative is making a challenge on the inside but carries a heavy handicap and is a novice in these conditions.

The Agri shows bring competition in Cattle classes, a personal favourite. Highland, Craven Longhorn, Aberdeen and Welsh Black. All farmed on the surrounding hills where one writes and popular in the shows.

Speaking of not being popular, and highland cattle, that reminds me that the current Mrs Mitchell’s mother is due to come down for a summer visit, so I will make myself scarce. Don’t worry, she does not read this column. Ignoring me extends to written text. I like to see an old timeless beauty, restored, polished and loved. Sadly, that is not the case here, so off to the Yorkshire Elegance at Grantley Hall where Traditum sponsors 3-days of classic car celebration, with many clients present as well. It should wet one’s whistle with the odd summer sipper and bring convivial company to many a bottle. Many thanks to the Fastlane team Stephen, Simon, Tom and Lisa for our partnership.

Back to horses. I was recently at Bolsover Castle as a guest of the owner. What a place. It was following Chester Races. An after-competition dinner event, with Equine elite jumping at its best, I enjoyed the company of the Mitchell senior daughter for day and night, who has grown into a young impressive adult. Her taste for New World wine is admirable, as is her knowledge of viticulture and elite show jumping.

We enjoyed the company of a few of the Whitaker cousins for a period who are literally royalty in the jumping sport and world-class athletes. Don’t tell the farming boyfriend, she was star-stuck and swooning. She also backed four winners on the bounce at Chester in the day, so she knows a horse that can run as well as jump. We had pre-dinner drinks chatting with Hugo Palmer, lead trainer for Michael Owen at Manor House Stables and a fine fellow. My friend in the conversation owns a horse in his care who won at Haydock Park a few weeks back. The lesson, one win does not guarantee anything. Sound advice. Hugo was getting thirsty, so onto the wine order.

In our company at dinner and the races were some South African friends. The New World wine knowledge was deployed by the senior daughter befitting the company, while Dad sat back and felt very old. Time and tide my friends, we pass the baton, and she chose the wine to go with the outstanding Bolsover dinner.

As you all know, I am not a fan of the New World vintages, out of ignorance rather than education. My daughter, befitting the company and surroundings, selected Capensis. It is a wonderful wine. As impressive as her horse knowledge. From Stellenbosch, it is a Chardonnay of classic structure, design and heritage. Graham Weerts is the producer and a talent. He and the wines are world-class, like a Whitaker on a horse, a Highland cow at the Yorkshire show (not visiting family), or White Birch on the gallop. I was also informed by my daughter that the area is not New World, but old with a heritage of more than 300 years. I should open my eyes and wallet, apparently.

The conversation over dinner moved around, and onto rugby, where for me the going is good, good to firm. I feel more comfortable. I selected my world XV of all time, and only two South Africans were present. Having won the World Cup more than any other nation (I was passionately informed), there should have been more in the line-up, by the large, framed companion on the second bottle of this great wine.

Like my top 15 wines, there are few from South Africa, but this bottle readers will play blindside as Schalke Berger did in my greatest 15. Maybe I should give more time for another entry or two and knock out a Frenchman (Sella / Du Point), as this wine rivals a great Burgundy. It is so typically South African, strong and uncompromising, graceful. Like Stellenbosch’s great player de Villers. Sorry, I went for O’Driscoll in that position.

I have always said a great wine needs two things. Great company and great memories. Throughout the day I was surrounded by elite show jumpers, horse trainers, jockeys and breeders. The shows to come in the summer months will have those equally dedicated to their craft, breeding the best beast to show to the world, years of dedication, commitment and leading heritage. Capensis is befitting that conclusion and well worth trying. Off to Grantley next to share a glass with Mr Owens from the Fastlane Club and the gang. I may order a South African bottle for a change.

Salute.

 

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