Velazquez and the wine writers
Tonight was the Circle of Wine Writers Christmas party. Usually these events are hosted by the embassy of a wine-producing nation who then seizes the opportunity to ply the wine hacks and hangers on with booze from their country. This year we were due at the Spanish embassy, but because of refurbishment works we were relocated to the National Gallery (pictured), and a private showing of the Velazquez exhibition.
Diego Rodriguez de Silva y Velázquez, to give him his full name, lived from 1599-1660, and is widely regarded as one of the greats. I was particularly thrilled to see a picture that, as a child, I had a small print of - a remarkably intense, detailed portrayal of an old lady cooking eggs, which was painted when Velazquez was just 19 years old (see right).
The party itself was a sedate affair that represented a good opportunity to catch up with people and meet a few more for the first time. By these criteria, it was an evening well spent. However, there were loads of people I'd never seen before, and a relatively low head count of the leading wine writers. Also, the Spanish wine people had their chance and muffed it: we were greeted by a glass of oxidized Cava, and then the wines we were supposed to taste ran out fast (and the clean glasses ran out even faster), so by around 8.30 pm there was nothing left to drink. It felt odd to leave a wine writers' party horridly sober...