Lawlessly Yours column

Bill Lawless.
Bill Lawless.
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I’ve got this single glass of wine a day nonsense all worked out.

It brilliantly dawned on me the other day that no-one seems to have stipulated the size of the glass. (They probably have but it wouldn’t suit this column so I’ve forgotten it.)

My mate Charlie has one that could double as a flower vase, while I am working along the lines of a converted goldfish bowl.

I freely admit that isn’t possible to wield these capacious containers with any degree of delicacy, and every time I consider the matter my thoughts turn to the original lass with a glass, the babe with the Bordeaux, the one and only Jilly Goulden, star of the BBC’s old Food and Drink programmes.

I used to get really silly about Jilly. Not only did I fancy her something rotten but her performances at degustations (wine tastings) were graphic in the extreme. Her expession on tasting, say, an inferior beaujolais were akin to some poor lady coping with a breech birth in the Aussie outback with only a lorry driver and an adjustable spanner to help.

She could be coping with a terminal spasm of wind. Or she could be removing old nail varnish from her toenails with a blowlamp. (And why not? Those daughters of Oz are formidable women.)

Anyway, when my mum lived in a village in the south of France, the local centre of a wine-growing area, she did so with a lovely man whose daughter had married into a vinyard. I attended many a wine-tasting, called degustations, and always thought of Jilly.

She swilled it round her glass, then her mouth, and spat it out with unbelievable delicacy and spoke of getting a hint of dingleberries, a suggestion of creosote and formidable tannin.

Meanwhile, in the real world, the locals were tackling large glassfuls, inhaling the bouquet through empurpled hooters and swigging it back like Greek heroes. And why not? It was their product. The winery was run on co-operative lines and the cooking quality stuff was pooled, if you will pardon the expression.

Nothing was expectorated. Mon Dieu what a waste! When they had finished the ceremony and staggered home, strangers thought the mass lurchings was a genetic defect probably caused by inbreeding.

Mais non, it was caused by imbibing. I’ll bet there wasn’t one liver worth salvaging in the entire village...