Wine, because most of it is imported and the pound is weak, is becoming increasingly expensive. Congratulations then to Sainsbury's on its handsomely labelled House Wine range. All the wines are less than £5.00 a bottle but what is more important, despite the fact that their provenance is not always precise, and that they are unlikely to interest wine critics, they are extremely well made by wine-makers who know what they are doing. The Pinot Noir from Roumania challenges more expensive competitors from Burgundy, the traditional home of the grape. The Beaujolais is excellent. and the Cabernet Sauvignon satisfyingly tannic as you would expect of Bordeaux from where it comes rather than from the New World. Today I noticed under the same House Wine label something I haven't tried. It is labelled simply Hock. Who talks of Hock nowadays? The term is generic and was (still is it seems) used to describe wines from the Rhine regions of Germany. The term comes from the German Hocheimer denoting wines from Hochheim.on the river Main just west of Frankfurt.
Spying the Sainsury bottle on the shelf today meanwhile reminded me of John Betjeman's poem about the arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel in London.
"The poem begins:
He sipped at weak hock and seltzer
And looked at the London skies
At the Nottingham lace of the curtain
Or was it his bee-winged eyes..."
I can't say that I was tempted to try it with or without soda water.
I am grateful to Lucy Kempton for her comment yesterday on the new layout of this blog. She says that at first she found it confusing. So did I. It is not entirely clear to me how I arrived at it. A piece of serendipity I think. Meanwhile until she passed on her discoveries about its hidden depth I have to admit that I was not aware of all of them. I hope meanwhile that not too many visitors have been confused. If they have perhaps Lucy's discoveries will compensate.