Every year, normally on or around the longest day, our local National Trust hall – Great Chalfield Manor - hosts a picnic and summer ball. Over the past few years the weather has remained decidedly inclement so the organisers have now taken heed and now also include a marquee – and dancing in the main hall.


Wine box


Picking the wines for the night for our village falls to me each year, so after checking that the weather was probably going to require ‘inside marquee drinking’ I went for reds and rosés – and taking our latest shipment of the ever reliable Vouvray Mousseux Brut as ‘the white’ we were ready for the village charabang.

As we gathered, these days I automatically and subconsciously scan the wines that have been assembled, just to find my bearings of my regular partners in crime for the evening. It’s not quite a secretive as, say, the masons or MI5 but it remains a decent code for those ‘in the know’.

A village friend who lives in London and returns to Wiltshire regularly at weekends gave his presence away immediately as I clocked an Aix rose – in a magnum (Richard always claims magnums should be the de rigour bottle format on these events for the ‘comedy value’).


Aix magnum


Needless to say, having read a recent Yapp blog I’d deployed my Tan brogues for the evening (although I favour the Barbour versions living in a working farming village) – and the evening ticked along happily, with the stand out red being the Vin de Corse Sartène Rouge: Domaine Saparale 2011 meeting with unanimous approval.


Domaine Saparale red


It was carriages at midnight and we reassembled in the village pub – to find it heaving with a fancy dress evening. Thankfully at this stage my camera had run out of charge so I can save you the randomness of a rural village hosting a fancy dress night on what I assumed was running a ‘people from different countries’ theme – but I also saw someone dressed at Gene Simmons from Kiss – I can only assume he’d not read the invite in full or that was just how he dressed on a Saturday.