The Best Wine I Drank Last Week (Wine & Weather)

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A bottle of cold pinot grigio made by Hardys
Above, a photo of The Best Wine I Drank Last Week.
 
Yeah? What are you looking at, mate? You got a problem with that?
 
So — it's a bottle of Hardy's Pinot Grigio. I drank it alongside a plate of scampi, freshly defrosted, which was itself The Best Meal I Ate Last Week. I drank it in an oddball country pub full of model Spitfires. I drank it while wearing T-shirt, shorts and fluffy white disposable slippers.
 
Yes. The kind you get when you go to a health spa.
 
A pair of white disposable cotton spa slippers
 
'What in the bedevilled name of Mephistopheles,' you are doubtless muttering, '— is this crackpot talking about?' Reader, I'll explain: last week, I walked a stretch of the North Downs Way.
 
Now. If you were hanging out in the far south-east of England last week, you may have noticed — through the smugly double-glazed windows of your toasty-warm abode — that the weather was, on occasion, a tad inclement. By which I mean: it was sodding appalling. On the day in question, the rain had set in with the grim and terrible determination of a 34-stone man at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
 
That rain was in it for the long haul.
 
Walking 15 wind-lashed miles in the remorseless, driving rain is a struggle at the best of times. It is even more of a struggle when — having doltishly based one's attire on the flimsy premise of British summertime — one is wearing cotton twill trousers. Cotton twill trousers that, sodden like a flannel, are clinging to your spindly legs like a pair of desperate trauma victims, pulled from the icy waters of the North Sea.
 
And when your walking boots have a small marshy microclimate all of their own, squelching swampily at every step.
 
And when you are confronted, about half way through, with a deep, perilous lake of commingled water, mud and cow dung — and realise, with a sick, exhausted dismay, that THERE IS NO WAY ROUND, ONLY THROUGH.
 
And when — above all — when at each step, you reflect with woe and self-castigation that it would have been a really good idea to pack a second pair of shoes for the evening.
 
When all the above happens, let me tell you, you are very glad indeed when you arrive at your very nice B&B and the lovely host offers you a pair of fluffy white disposable slippers. Pride doesn't come into it. And you're even gladder when she offers to drive you to the pub in the nearby village, rather than leaving you to hobble your way there in aforementioned slippers.
 
Admittedly, the effect that your footwear produces as you walk into the country pub is not exactly what you'd have chosen. But you don't care; defiantly, you prove your masculinity beyond reasonable doubt by ordering a bottle of Pinot Grigio.
 
What did that Pinot Grigio taste like? It tasted like stretching out after a long incarceration. It tasted like walking into a beam of sunlight. And it tasted — and I use this word in all senses and with a considerable amount of emotional weight — dry. Even though it probably wasn't particularly dry. Seriously, y'know, I can't really remember what it tasted like in any kind of objective way. If I came across it at a tasting, I'd probably not like it much. But that's not the point. Because how often do you drink wine at a tasting?*
 
And because, sometimes, the situation — the story, the experience — is more important than what you're drinking.
 
 
Hardys VR Pinot Grigio 2011
Drink with: frozen scampi and fluffy white slippers
Price: £5-6, I suppose
 
Alternatively, if you haven't just spent a day wading through cow pooh, here are a couple of dry white wines I've enjoyed recently whilst not recovering from torrential downpours and whilst potentially in a more balanced physical and emotional state:
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*   If your answer to this question is 'Loads of the time!' — congratulations. Loser.