Every year, the first day of school after the long summer vacation, our new teacher would ask us to write a story on ‘What I did in the holidays.’ I think they did it to try and dilute the shock of facing 35 small horrors after the bliss of 6 weeks away from it all. Plus, of course, it give them an hour’s extra snooze and recuperation. Their only injunction, year in, year out was ‘Make it descriptive and don’t use the word “nice.”’ All my schooldays, I remember getting a red pen scrawled across my work and the comment ‘Lazy!’ if I described anything as ‘nice.’ Apparently it’s nondescript, slack, uninspiring and limiting to describe anything in this way and for many years, the memory of that red pen continued to dog my writings and scar me in my soul.
And now I have had enough! I am officially empowering myself by reclaiming the word ‘nice’ and boo sucks to Mrs Webster, Miss Moxon, Mrs Higgins and the lot of them! Some things just are nice and nowhere is it quite as appropriate as when it comes to describing a wine.
I cannot tell you how much I love a 'nice' wine. I’m talking about wines that you can get through a couple of bottles without worrying too much, wines which it’s okay to open when you only want a glass, wines which you always keep in your fridge just for everyday, wines which more or less go well with whatever you’re eating – you know the kind of wine I’m talking about. These wines don’t win any awards or trophies, but I tell you what - these are the kinds of wines which people like to drink.
I asked around for other peoples' ideas of a nice wine and heard suggestions ranging from Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc, Haute Cabriere Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Backsberg Cabernet Sauvignon and Arabella Shiraz – all of them safe bets for an evening in and a supper out. At the moment, it seems as if every trip to the supermarket for me involves buying bottles of Alexanderfontein Chenin Blanc and Glen Carlou Tortoise Hill Red – cheap, tasty, reliable and – just, well, nice! So down with expensive, award-winning, OTT blockbusters and up with pleasant, ordinary, everyday nice wines!
Do you agree? Tell us what wine is always in your fridge or on your shelf.