There has been a run of boy babies on Cassi’s side of the family recently. My mother’s last six great-grandchildren have all been male, so we’re two-thirds of the way towards the Red Sox team in the late 2030s. This one looks like the shortstop to me.
He entered the world with an understandable reluctance, giving his beautiful mother, father and medical staff quite a few anxious moments over many hours. But he’s here now. He’s gorgeous. And he is very, very welcome.
What we must do now to celebrate his arrival is ensure that his head is wetted appropriately. And this grandfather is, as before, in something of a quandary: I don’t do champagne.
Traditionally, I revert to the classics. First daughter Vic was toasted with a 1970 Margaux; Cass with a 1975 Gruaud-Larose. We also did well by the boys: a 2000 Larrivet-Haut-Brion (Maximilian) and an excellent Vieux Télégraphe from Chateauneuf (Asher). So what will we drink to wet the head of the as yet unnamed child of Cass and Michael?
I have narrowed it down to two, and neither have the classy status of those I drank to celebrate the birth of my daughters and my first grandsons. The one is a vin de pays Principauté d’Orange; the other a vin de France from the Rhône valley.
In other words, both are magnificent wines which have fallen foul of the French wine laws and those who would enforce them.
The first is from Chateauneuf, and a highly rated domaine – de la Janasse. It was drunk in serious quantities at the weddings of Owain and Tess and Vic and Andrew. The one in front of me is a 2008, it is drinking beautifully, and it is made with love and care by one of the great families of C-Du-P. But it is merely a vin du pays because – wonderfully and illegally – it combines Cabernet and Merlot with the obvious and traditional Syrah and Grenache.
The second is La Gramière which is made naturally in small quantities and tiny vineyards close to the Pont du Gard by two Americans, Amy Lillard and Matt Kling.
The one I have in mind is the 2011, because after starting life a tad reluctantly (just like the baby in whose honour it will be drunk), it suddenly starting singing its heart out about six or seven months ago. Right now, it is as good a Rhône as I have ever tasted. And for those of you who participated in the vendange in 2011, to drink it now makes every back-breaking minute worthwhile.
But it's about time us wine-lovers started to exercise their rights rather than doing what they are told by the merchants and pundits.
As you might expect, I have a glass of each in front of me as I type. The C-du-P which isn’t C-du-P is lovely, and warm, with a deep robe and massive depth of texture. The C-du-R which isn’t C-Du-R is luscious but structured, with blueberries and brambles and velvet and chocolate.
And it is the latter which I will drink this evening in honour of my new grandson. Here’s to you Cass and Michael and your new child.
David Ortiz Linforth has a certain ring to it ....
Today from the everysmith vaults: By chance this morning I clicked on the eponymous album, Papa John Creach. This is good and worthy of your attention. I commend it to you.