In My Time – Week 29, 2015


Early on in the week we made Harira for supper – the Moroccan thick soup with chickpeas, lentils, rice, tomatoes, garlic and ginger. It didn’t come out quite the way neither the recipe nor we intended, so we added loads of leftover roast guinea fowl from the previous evening to it and opened a bottle of Pinot Noir hoping it would make things better. The wine came from an outfit called Bodega Chacra in Argentina and is called Barda. I bought a case after reading a rather enthusiastic review by a celebrated female Master of Wine. It is quite light and rather one dimensional and slightly chilled, would make a good summer sipping wine rather than a partner for robust food. Sadly, the wine didn’t make things any better but we managed to finish most of it in one sitting leaving only a bit for sauce the next day.

The 157th Great Yorkshire Show – the annual farming extravaganza, started in Harrogate this week. There was organised chaos in the south side of town, where I live, for three days. The crowds, the Royals, congestion and noise an inconvenience the locals have to put up with every year.

More wine arrived in big trucks mid week attracting worried looks from neighbours. There was Manzanilla from Barbadillo in Sanlucar de Barrameda, sold in half bottles to retain freshness, pale and fresh, and enjoyed in the garden one sunny afternoon with large green Sicilian nocellara olives from the Fresh Olive Company and salted almonds and excellent chorizo brought back from Valencia last March. The Pomares Branco made with three indigenoue Portuguese grape varieties Viosinho, Rabigato and Gouveio by the good Douro producer Quinta Nova however was the least pleasing of all the Douro whites I have had the pleasure of drinking in the past six weeks. The Baron de Ley Rioja from the excellent 2010 vintage was silky smooth and immensely satisfying. All three wines were intended for summer drinking. Trapiche’s Finca Ambrosia, the highly regarded 2010 single estate Malbec from high altitude vineyards in the Salta region of Argentina would be savoured with robust meat dishes in the autumn.

The highlight of the week was lunch with friends in Ackworth. All the “friends” had spent a week together on a Douro wine tour last month and the lunch was a sort of a reunion of the same group of serious imbibers. We had ourselves driven over from Harrogate. It wasn’t a particularly warm day but we sat in the garden and sipped Dow’s Fine White Port with ice and tonic. Lunch was dressed crab, salmon, shrimps and salads followed by roast lamb and vegetables. Portuguese caramel and cake were served with a salad of mixed summer fruit and a selection of Portuguese cheeses rounded things off. Altano white and red, Quinta do Crasto Reserve White, and Prats & Symington Post Scriptum accompanied the meal. Dow’s Late Bottled Vintage Port 1999 was sipped with satisfaction at the end.

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