I said a mellow goodbye to Sober October with a fruity friend from the Languedoc. The well-named Lâchez-Vous! is a full-bodied Syrah/Grenache blend, red-purple in colour with the scent and taste of black and red berries. Dry and smooth, it went down very easily as I said hello to November.
The next day, on a casual wander through Colchester, I visited a (relatively) new off-licence at Fenwick, just to browse. Winter is coming, so I headed to the whisky section which, though compact, had interest. There, late to the game (the distillery, Mackmyra, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year), I discovered that Sweden produces whisky.
Thanks to an attentive sales assistant, I also discovered that Sweden produces good whisky. She noted my interest and asked if I would like to taste two of those Swedish whiskies they had in stock. I agreed and she fetched the bottles.
The first, Svensk Rök, is a smoky single malt whisky made exclusively from Swedish ingredients. Flavoured with juniper, it’s light, mildly spicy and peaty in character. The second, Mackmyra Äppelblom is also a single malt and is finished in Calvados-saturated oak casks from Christian Drouin. It has a richer dry-toffee-apple character. I enjoyed tasting both, but, if I had to choose, would take the Äppelblom for an autumn-into-winter drink. The apple and the Calvados are very persuasive.
So, cheers, dear reader, wherever you are and however you mark this season – here’s a toast to new discoveries – lâchez-vous!
It’s no secret that, for some years, Akakies has been The Pink for me – still or sparkling, my favourite Greek rose wine. But this year, at the urging of the same people who got me hooked on that Kyr-Yiannis staple, I tried La Tour Melas Idylle. Produced in Achinos, between Athens and Thessaloniki, on Kyros Melas’ estate, it’s paler, more elegant and more grown-up than Akakies. It is Bordeaux in style, with a Provençal air about it. On a Greek vacation spent in two towers and the shadows of a bastion, it seemed even more fitting to try this wine and picture it here – on a September evening as dusk fell.