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What I take away with me

If, like me, you have amassed a collection of wine far in excess of the number of bottles you can realistically expect to consume in the life of the wines concerned, you will have picked up a few bottles you have changed your mind about since your original enthusiastic purchase and which you consistently snub whenever you are pulling a bottle from the rack.

I have developed a system for using these wines: take them to the in-laws. Not that I want to palm off the undesired on my in-laws, you understand; rather, that when I am there, some 250 miles from home, I am stuck with whatever wines I have brought with me. The local off-licence is unlikely to have anything smarter than Blossom Hill lookalikes so you will believe me that whatever I take with me is going to be preferable.

Having come back from a couple of days there, I can report that the visit was successful, wine-wise at least, with a couple of Bordeaux I had been dreading, a Burgundy which has never impressed and a Chateauneuf which previously seemed over the top all performing well. That said, when we needed an extra bottle to take with us on a visit to the brother-in-law just around the corner, a bottle of Bressy-Masson's 2009 Cotes du Rhone, relieved from a box taken up at my mother-in-law's request, a wine which cost considerably less than any of the stash I had taken for general consumption, was most impressive.

Of the wines I took, the Tour St Bonnet 2003 was less ripe than others from the heatwave year but good with some roast lamb; a bottle of Patrice Rion's 2005 Bons Batons, a vintage which for some reason has consistently failed to hit the spot, seemed richer and more together than ever before. On Monday, a 2000 Bordeaux (I can't even remember which!) which I expected to have fallen apart by now, was still very much alive but the Cuvee du Vatican Reserve Sixtine from 2007 is still in its infancy but coming together very nicely with cherry kirsch dominating.

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