Red Letter Day or Red Wine Day!

Some years ago when I wintered, with my boat, on the Fiumicino Canal near Rome, my lovely friend Christine Von Scheidt came to visit. One evening in Rome, waiting for a dance that turned out not to be a dance at all – another story, we went into a restaurant in the back streets to have a meal between visiting the Palatine and Forum and our evening entertainment.

I ordered the house red wine and it was absolutely stunning, the best red wine I’d ever tasted. I asked the Maitre De about it and he said ah yes that one won awards and gold medals and we bought a lot of it and laid it down. He kindly printed off an information sheet and gave it to me.

The vineyard, it turned out, was about two hours drive from Rome and my good neighbour Hans Harink on the next boat in the yard had a car! After Christine had gone home he drove the two of us out to the vineyard for a tasting. All the award winning vintage had been sold but, not being a rich man, I bought a half case of the same wine from a later year and laid it down in a box in the bottom of my boat where it lay until very recently when I moved what remained of my possessions off the boat after the burglary.

The burglars took or drank all my booze, but they missed those six bottles of wine hidden away below the floor. So today my boat was sold and tonight to mark the occasion I shall open one of those six very special bottles and hope it has matured like the one I had all those years ago in Rome.

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