It's also the last day of books and booze. Tomorrow night after work (I'm counting down the hours now) I'm off to my mothers to play with the dog, drink champagne, and really relax for the first time in weeks. Before that happens, and before the onslaught of last minute shoppers who won't understand that if you pitch up on the 24th of December you get what's left - which isn't always what you want, there is another sherry I have to share with you though,
I wish I could actually share it; Pedro Ximenez (PX) is available as a dry white wine (I've seen it in M&S and must try it some time) but the PX I'm thinking of is the ridiculously sweet and sticky sherry. It's only a slight exaggeration to say it has the colour and consistency of treacle - it's certainly quite syrupy, but the colour is a glorious sort of chestnut or mahogany. It's a luscious, intense, mouth full of raisened splendour (think of it as a liquid mince pie but better). It's one of the few wines that works well with chocolate, but it's so rich a combination that I prefer the PX on its own. It's also a delightful thing to sip instead of Christmas pudding (again lots of the same flavours, but not quite as filling).
It's not the most fashionable end of sherry, which isn't at the most fashionable end of wine as it is, but if you don't know it, try it. Unless you really hate raisins and rich concentrated fruit flavours - because that's what you're going to get!
These are winter flavours to me; it's all the rich abundance of summer come to ripeness and stored safely against the darkest days of the year. When it comes to matching a book to that in some ways it's anything goes - what book do you turn to that's either the epitomy of Christmas or which transports you to the warmth of a Spanish summer, or the slow years spent ageing to perfection? In the end my choice is Ovid's 'Metamorphoses'. I read it first studying history of art because it was useful, and then again because I enjoyed it so much.
Some of the legends are more familiar than others, but the whole thing is a strange and wonderful collection and it's a strange and wonderful wine to go with it.