Last Saturday, I was front page news. Well, sort of. My face was on the front of the paper – in Spain. Here, I was slightly less in-your-face, tucked inside with a feature on, er, my face. Specifically, the effect a wine-free month had on my skin, along with some rather hideous close-ups of it pre- and post-January. So, was it all worth it? Well, I definitely slept better. And my skin was noticeably brighter afterwards. It was subtle to the eye but the scans showed a big difference in texture, pores and even wrinkles around the eyes. Having said all that, I really missed the pleasure of having a glass of wine. Not during the week so much but on a Friday night, or with friends at the weekend. Having yet another cup of green tea or tonic water (even though it was lovely tonic water) just wasn’t the same. To be honest, I’d rather have a glass of wine in the evening and take the wrinkles. Although I’ll go with laughter lines – and they’re fine by me.
Current sparkling in the fridge: Oeil de Perdrix Rose NV
Price: £19.99 - Buy From Majestic
Named after the colour of a partridge’s eye (not that I’ve ever got close enough to know) this is a great value rose champagne. The label’s lovely but as we know, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Properly fresh and crisp with subtle redcurrant flavours, it’s refreshingly uncomplicated. A perfectly pink way to kick off the evening. Add a plate of smoked salmon – together, they make a lovely couple.
Current white in the fridge: Good Ordinary White by Paul Smith
Price: £8.85 - Buy From Berry Bros. & Rudd
The wine inside might be good and ordinary, but it’s very well done. Made from Sauvignon Blanc from Bordeaux, it’s simple and subtle and just right if you like your whites crisp and refreshing but not too in-your-face. And with a label designed by great British designer Paul Smith (I bought a pair of black kitten heel boots in the sale from his shop about 20 years ago and still wear them on the odd occasion), it’s really not that ordinary at all. Up close, the design and colours work beautifully. There’s a red partner too, but I’ve swiped white.
Current red in the rack: Nelson Pinot Noir
Price: £11 - Buy From Marks & Spencer
Elegantly understated, this one. Made from the Pinot Noir grape, made famous by Burgundy and its often astronomical prices. But this is from a relatively small region in New Zealand’s South Island, called Nelson. It’s relatively sunny here, giving the wine a kind of warm, friendly character. Juicy, fresh and with lots of chirpy cherry fruits, there’s a bit of spice from ageing in oak barrels. Smart for the money. Try it with duck pancakes for starters.