Krispy Kreme and the Douro
Went to the fifth day of the Lord's test today.
After having been on Thursday for the first day, I was looking at the rate of subsequent play with great attentiveness. That's because test matches have five days scheduled for play, but because the scoring rate is higher than it used to be, most tests are now finished within four days, and it's rare to have much play on the fifth. As a result, no tickets are sold in advance for the final day's play (it's pay on the gate, £20 for adults, £10 for kids), and box holders for Sunday get to keep their boxes for Monday as a bonus. Which is why I was attending today, as guest of Douro producer Quinta de la Rosa - not the normal sort of corporate hospitality gig. Also present in the box from the wine trade were Tim French of Fortnum & Mason, Hamish Anderson of the Tate group and Charles Metcalfe.
Anyway, the game was nicely poised at the start of play, with South Africa trailing by 100 runs but with nine wickets in hand. It was going to be very exciting (if England got some early wickets), or very boring (if South Africa managed to bat through a few sessions unscathed). In the end, it was the latter. I love test cricket, but I'll admit that when games fizzle into a damp squib of a draw like this, it's enough to make you rush out and buy tickets to see some 20:20 fireworks.
England's bowlers struggled to trouble South Africa on a pitch that made batting look quite easy. Still, we had a very enjoyable day. Some Quinta de la Rosa wines were sampled. The 2006 Quinta de la Rosa is deliciously fresh and aromatic with vibrant dark cherry fruit and more than a hint of seriousness. 2005 Passagem, from their new property in the Douro Superior, is a serious effort with lush, sweet, pure fruit backed up by some spicy structure. I really liked this ripe but focused and balanced wine. The 2004 Reserva is evolving nicely with lovely purity of fruit. And I found out that the 1997 Colheita goes pretty well with Krispy Kreme donuts. Especially the one with a bit of jam in the middle.
Krispy Kreme donuts look evil and I should hate them, but I find them thoroughly addictive. I was first introduced to them by my older son, who was already hooked at the time: I bought him one at the KK outlet in Bentalls in Kingston, and then found out that the coffee I'd ordered came with two free KK donuts. They looked appalling but tasted delicious, in much the same way that Pringles do. And now I have found they work with Colheita, which is a bit of a bonus.