Blue wine? Nooit! “What does it taste like?”
“Oh, I think you’ll enjoy it”
“Give me a clue: crispy; dry; sweet?”
“You’ll see.” With that my brother thrust the bottle of blue wine into my hands moments before I had to leave for the airport. That was months ago. Hold the bottle up to the light and it looks beautiful.
Good curiosity value – that’s all. I had no immediate takers once I had arrived home and so I placed it on my wine rack, where the pretty colour dulled from the outside as the bottle gathered a layer of dust. None of the family present for Christmas dinner was eager to try it. Blue wine? I could see a disparaging ‘bubble-gum flavour’ in the thought bubbles floating above their shaking heads – that ubiquitous blue bubble-gum flavour of milk drinks and crushed ice so beloved by some. Why is blue associated with bubble-gum? When I was young it was always pink.
Lockdown arrived. In South Africa this meant that not only were we initially confined to our homes, but the sale of alcohol was forbidden. The weeks extended with slight variations to the theme … then alcohol was on sale again … then it was banned again …. I had not stocked up at all and the holes in my modest wine rack were gaping – even being used as anchor points for spider webs.
Time for this blue wine to be cleaned up and spend time in the fridge. It looks like a wine that needs to be cold to enjoy. Was I going to enjoy it? Why had my brother smiled … what was the catch? Lockdown continued with no visiting of friends or family allowed … the spiders were beginning to consider renting out apartments on my wine rack.
I removed the bottle of Casal Mendes from the bottom of the fridge and looked at the bottle suspiciously – all over. I scrutinised the label that tells me it is a product of Portugal, should be served at 7°C – I was right about that. So, the moment had arrived: I poured the teeniest portion into the glass (look, my brother gave it to me – I might be the butt of a rather drawn-out joke, who can tell?) and did the swirling, testing the aroma, looked for legs – anything to delay the actual tasting.
Hey! It’s not bad! In fact, I discovered that this blue wine is eminently drinkable: crispy and light. I found I enjoyed the unsweet, slightly acidic, fruity flavour. While I do not think this is a wine to keep, I can imagine enjoying it during the heat of summer.
I have since discovered that this blue wine has only been in the Casal Mendes range since 2016 and is based on a ‘green’ wine – what is added to make that beautiful shade of blue, I wonder. Whatever it is, I am going to look out for another bottle once summer gets underway!