It is February and a little late for new year’s resolutions, but I will nevertheless assert that I’m hoping to pick up the pace around here this year. When I last checked, there were something like 403 drinks on the list. We’re not even a quarter through; this one-a-month pace is not going to cut it if I’m going to get done before I’m fifty. And so what if I’ve resolved the same every year since this all got kicking. This is the year. Twenty posts! Fifty posts! Two hundred posts!

This increased haste may come at a cost though. Two drinks in a row now, I’ve put a bottle with the wrong book. At least this time I didn’t ferry the book back specially from Japan. But I shall be more rigorous henceforth. As we are all only too aware, the stakes could not be higher.

Today’s drop in our 403 bottle ocean is the Réserve Mouton Cadet from the Graves appellation in Bordeaux. It’s a blend of Sav Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. In an intriguing hint towards Lot 49-esque mysteries, the back of the bottle has a little essay from the owner of the winery, Phillippine de Rothschild, below which it indicates that she died the same year as this vintage.

Phillippine’s wine, which may well hold clues to her presumably untimely death, is a lovely bright yellow colour. It tastes to me like an oaky chardonnay, a bit minerally, apricots. Pretty streamlined and serious. My sister was able to contribute the incredibly enlightening adjective “fruity,” dropping to the bottom of the really not massively competitive family palate ladder after Mum and Dad’s previous contributions. What light this all casts on Phillippine’s demise will have to be examined elsewhere.

The Graves comes to us of course from Against the Day (and certainly not Gravity’s Rainbow), where it is drawn from the cellar aboard the good ship Inconvenience to placate the ship dog, Pugnax. Our old pals the Chums of Chance return from a jaunt in the desert to find Pugnax alone on a ship robbed by departing Gurkhas, and not real happy about it. They know how to appease him:

Miles headed directly for the galley, and before he knew it, Pugnax was lying before a sumptuous “spread” which included Consommé Imperial, Timbales de Suprêmes de Volailles, Gigot Grilllé à la Sauce Piquante, and aubergines à la Sauce Sousseline. The wine-cellar had been none-too-discreetly ransacked by the Gurkhas, but Miles was able to locate a ’00 Pouilly-Fuissé and a ’98 Graves which met Pugnax’s approval, and he fell to and, presently, asleep.

Against the Day, p. 443.

Google translate does what I’m assuming is a less than A-grade job with some of those dishes–“Roasted leg of hot sauce?” “Poultry supreme teats?” Whatever it all may be, it does sound like a very magnificent feast. I paired my Graves, a 2014 rather than 1898, with my sister’s red curry, and that worked just fine too.

The right book!

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