Today had a real winter chill to it, which in the days of global warming is sort of reassuring for the UK in late December: it's supposed to be cold in mid-winter! Indeed, I'd just love some sub-zero temperatures, together with a dusting (or more) of snow, for the Christmas holidays.
I went for my usual lunchtime walk today, through Regent's Park. The morning mist had cleared, but the air was still heavy with moisture. It gave the sunlight a rather milky feel, and gave the cold air a penetrating quality that cut straight through my clothing, chilling my skin in an icy blast. In the rose garden the work of winter pruning was well under way, even though some blooms were still evident. Pruning is a strongly metaphorical process, reminding me that this is a convenient time of year to address areas in my own life that could do with cutting back, in order to encourage healthy future growth.
Watching the crowds in London, it seems that there's an unusual tiredness/weariness to people. It's something you expect with the season; this year it seems to be exceptional. I guess for many this year has been a difficult one. Next year will have its own peculiar challenges, which are likely to match or exceed what this year has brought. That's the impression I'm getting. Of course, this might be total nonsense. But I'm going to use the next week and a bit to do nothing much. Downtime. However, I'll still be updating the site and blog - for me, this is fun.
The 'winter warmer' of the title of this post is a vintage Port. From Barros, a producer best known for its Colheitas, the 2003 Vintage is showing really beautifully at the moment. I've been drinking a lot of young Vintage Port recently, and I'm enjoying it a good deal. You've got two choices with Vintage Port: catch it young and enjoy it in its first blush, or stick it away for a decade or more, with two or three decades recommended for the top examples.
Barros Vintage Port 2003 Douro, Portugal
Deep coloured, this Vintage Port has a wonderfully perfumed, open nose. Thereís an almost floral, herb-tinged dark fruits character, which is supplemented by lifted spicy notes. Itís very seductive and expressive, with a nice sweetness. The palate has lovely sweet fruit with some assertive spiciness and a bit of tannic grip, but itís not really built for the long haul. Instead, this is a beautifully poised, perfumed Vintage Port which will keep for a decade or two, but which will probably reach its peak earlier rather than later. Itís incredibly enjoyable now, though. Very good/excellent 93/100