Rosé in the snow

 Image via Rioja Wine UK

Image via Rioja Wine UK

Snow’s falling outside the window – unusual enough for London, but it’s settling on the stripped blossom branches; dusting bin bags and icing pavements.

I suppose it’s not really rosé weather, but I’ve got an old story caught in my head and it has me hunting in the cupboards for the last bottle of Muga. I’ve heard the story in a coffee stop at LIWF and it’s stayed with me – how Muga Rosé first came to the UK.

In a dilapidated Land Rover, hurling over frozen clods of earth, the English wine buyer and the Spanish winemaker.

The vineyard bedded in snow in the early months of the year; vines pruned back viciously. They pause, drag sinews of dead vine together for a bonfire. The flames crackle beneath wide skies; the blue feels so close to earth, scraping the walls of encircling mountains. There is fresh chorizo. Barbecued, it spurts pungent oil, staining fingers and bread rolls.

They sit on the hood of the car, munching their hot sandwiches, discussing harvest, costs, quantities between greedy mouthfuls. And there is rosé, chill in the snow, and fragrantly acidic for fatty sausages.

‘Let’s start with a pallet,’ he says.