walking the dog, drinking Chianti
It has been a weekend of walks. Mostly dog-driven activity. On Saturday morning a quick jaunt through local Hanworth Park, and then in the afternoon a lengthy romp through Windsor Great Park (including a winter picnic of hot soup and bread), where Rosie jumped into the water for the first time. Then today another early morning Hanworth Park visit, followed by a longer walk in Richmond Park in the afternoon. While winter has a beauty all of its own, I'm really looking forward to spring and summer, when all this outdoor activity will be much more inviting.
I said some slightly mean things about Chianti a week or two ago - and one reader disagreed enough to send me an upset e-mail. So in a spirit of fairness and reconciliation, I'm going to persevere and add data points by drinking more Chianti. A bottle I enjoyed a lot more than the previous few is the Fonterutoli Chianti Classico 2004. It's dense and spicy, with a very Italian cedary, almost medicinal streak under the concentrated red and black fruits. It isn't terribly refined, but there's some gutsy presence that I enjoy. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's rustic - but its intense savoury character makes it a useful food wine. It's not cheap at £17.99 (Swig, Noel Young, Harrods, The Wine Society), but it is an accomplished wine, and I'd give it 91/100 if you want a score. This is a wine that shows that my two categories classification of Chianti (dilute and sappy or spoofy and oaky) is actually wrong. This is recognizably Chianti, but it has plenty of richness and concentration. Could age very well, too.