gig pal

I never get morning after headaches when drinking wine. I’ve only empirical evidence – no idea if the matter has been considered scientifically  – for my belief that headaches are less likely if you drink good (here a synonym for more expensive), rather than poor (cheaper) wine. Better wine making, less corners cut, less reliance on chemicals.

Until recently. I’d had a largish glass of the Gigondas Dmne Clos des Cazaux La Tour Sarrasine (WS, no longer available £13) around 22.00 and awoke early next morning, feeling really tired with a nagging, persistent headache. The wine was spicy (mainly grenache from old vines), savoury, perhaps a little young and 14.5%. Could it have been the alcohol level or perhaps the presence of additives? I’ll never know since the winemaker still doesn’t have to list such things on the label. No claim made for organic either. [I couldn’t review this wine on the WS website as it is out of stock but I did leave a comment on my account about possible additives and the resultant headache. A few days later I received an unasked for refund.]

Anyway last night, not wishing to have another glass of the Gigondas and having some smoked salmon in the fridge, I opened a white. This was a present from Geoff, brought back from a holiday in the Loire in 2013. I’ll leave it to him to fill out the detail but the wine was Domaine de la Paleine Pamina 2011. Can’t see any UK stockists. Really lovely wine with spice, fruit, weight and mouthfeel beautifully combined. Just off-dry but not enough to put me off. A perfect match for the smoked salmon and also for some roquefort – not many wines could manage both. So, this morning – no headache, despite the wine being 15%.

(Geoff. The wine came from the village of La Puy de Notre Dame, a few kilometres south of Saumur. The growers can attach the village’s name to the Saumur appellation for their red wines (almost exclusively Cabernet Franc) but the Chenin Blanc makes a really flavoursome wine here. The wine was bought following a well-organised vineyard tour and tasting (thanks, Brian and Sheila, holiday gite owners in La Puy). I like the fresh-tasting Cab Franc and the richness of Chenin, both of which do well here in this mainly sparkling wine region.)


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