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Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pink wine

Pink wine in Oxford Street today


There are some who mock Agent Triple P's fondness for pink wine (we don't approve of the Frenchified term rosé; especially as much of the pink wine we drink is not French). We are, we admit, entranced by the colour of it in the glass (we had a very pale pink Pinot Grigio rosato today) and also confess that a lot of its appeal is that we are quite often drinking it in the company of a young lady.

We were wandering through the slighltly pretentiously named The John Lewis foodhall from Waitrose this afternoon when we came across their really rather good wine section (we were most tempted by a magnum of Chateau Palmer). It struck us what a wide selection of pink wine they had in stock. It wasn't that long ago in Britain that you were limited to Mateus, Rosé d'Anjou or possibly a pink Lambrusco. None of them exactly the height of drinking sophistication. Pink wine was, at that time, for girls who didn't like wine but wanted to drink (alcopops had yet to be invented). We have to admit that we have taken advantage of this many times and must have poured gallons of the stuff down increasingly eager and relaxed female throats over the last three decades or so.

Agent Triple P cannot claim, however, that he has drunk pink wine consistently over the years. It has been, until the last fifteen years or so, a rather stop start passion. Rather worryingly we realise that we have been drinking wine now for over forty-eight years (we did start at eighteen months old, admittedly) and although we had wine every week with Sunday lunch when we were a child we don't recall that much pink. Agent Triple P's father preferred Burgundy or red Rhones.



Montreuil Bellay: Pink Central


When we went to Oxford we still didn't drink that much and actually used to buy wine in half bottles from Sainsburys for 99p. They had all three colours and we discovered that our particular friend at the time C preferred pink so this tended to be the one we chose. However, only a few years later Triple P, Agent DVD, Lady R and VA were travelling through the Loire polishing off huge quantities of pink: Rosé d'Anjou, pink sparkling Saumur and anything else we could find. The epicentre of this deluge of pinkness being found in the charming town of Montreuil Bellay where we discoverd the source of Sainsbury's pink Anjou of the time.
The mid-eighties saw us involved with the very girlie SA who liked pink wine a great deal and we used to get through quite a lot of it whilst Triple P made her strike poses on the floor so that we could produce charcoal pictures of her dressedin just a pair of hold up stockings. It was all a bit Bohemian we suppose.

Where Marlows used to be

In the late eighties and nineties HMS, Agent DVD and Agent Triple P used to regularly visit Marlow's wine bar in Lloyd's Avenue in the City. Sadly, Marlowe's disappeared in 1998 when the owners of the building, law firm Holman Fenwick and Willan, turned it into offices. But it was there that Triple P started drinking pink wine again; largely Beringer's White Zinfandel.



For a time after that our consumption of pink was largely limited to what is still our favourite Champagne, Laurent Perrier Rosé Brut. It was only with the appearance of our Canadian friend S that we started to drink much more pink; it being her favourite. In fact we enjoyed a good few bottles of Bandol in the Inter-Continental hotel in Montreal last October to celebrate our fifteen year "anniversary".



Bandol in the trendy see through wine store in the Inter-Continental, Montreal


The problem is, of course, that until recently, drinking pink wine in public was only acceptable if you were with a woman and definitely not if you were out and about with another chap. Oh, the number of times that Triple P was harangued and berated by Agent DVD when he ordered pink wine in the Archduke. Agent DVD prefers his wine red and preferably with the remnants of trees in the bottom of the bottle (Chateau Musar, being his model for this). Although the colour remains somewhat problematic the new wave of pink wines are more likely to be bone dry rather than as sweet as an Anjou so at least they don't taste girlie.

The most recent figures show that only about 9% of the world's wine is pink. Of this 29% is produced in France with the vast majority of this originating in Provence. In the UK consumption of pink wine is expected to rise by 50% over the next three years compared with only 10% in the US. It can't all be down to Triple P and his circle of girlies, surely?

Ah well, we picked up a bottle of Cono Sur Carmenere from Chile today, as it was on offer. Strangely, we also received our Sustrans cycling newsletter today where they were highlighting none other than Cono Sur as a particularly sustainable and cyling friendly winery. Coincidence? Or fate?


Given the bottle is lying at our feet as we type we feel we should chill it and see what it's like! Sadly we don't have a Canadian girl to hand to pour it over, but that is another story!

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