snow has hit France, as well as coating England thanks to the Russian Steppe blowing in. For those who live in New York, there is an excellent production of Uncle Vanya on at the Stage Theatre Company on E 13th Street: Chekhov letting no-one off in his depiction of 1899 ennui, just 20 years before the Revolution. Maggie Gyllenhaal is captivating, the acting of Denis O`Hare and Peter Sarsgaard in the male suitor roles completely complementary. Meryl Streep was even in attendance, watching her daughter Mamie Gummer perform the role of the love-lorn Sofya. So much for Russia for now, but it`s that sort of day.
The mail has come in about the Paul Jaboulet Aîné article in Decanter, February 2009 - in support, I am both glad and sad to report. Amateurs of these wines from the past lament the moves being made, the result being a loss of personality. I hope that management take these comments as the prompt to sort things out, and to strive to better understand the region.
Being entered this month are 2007 tasting notes, led by Châteauneuf-du-Pape Domaines - see Goings-On for the full list. They are indeed wholesome, and a couple have even crept into the w.o.w. (what one wants) category, even if a little more expensive than usual for that.
This month is marked by a vast tasting of Côtes du Rhône reds in Avignon, as I seek out value for the current times. More on that from March, as I have two almost consecutive visits to the Rhône, the second being for the Découvertes week in mid-March.
Cornas (cheval) alert: I wish this bulletin had been written 2 days ago, since our Cheval Mascot triumphed in his first novice (young horses) steeplechase over 2 miles at Ludlow (the local racecourse for the very good Tanners Wines in Shrewsbury) on Thursday 15 January. He won by 5 lengths after making a mistake at the first fence, then took hold of the bit and wooshed away from ten rivals. His odds were 7/1, and the owners nibbled away at him enough to make the price fall from an early 14/1. Free wine from Vine Trail, folks. I had not one centime on - drat! I encourage Cornas drinking this weekend in sympathy.