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HOMAGE TO CALEDONIA

What with the confused Saharan dust cloud on England’s south coast and the fantasy drama-cum-daily routine destroyer Game of Thrones, we’ve been reticent to leave the house of late. But we have stepped bravely away from the TV, blinking and pasty in the sunlight and our attention has turned, to steal GoT imagery, both north, beyond The Wall (i.e. Scotland), and overseas to the south (i.e. Spain). We’re referring to the referendums planned in Scotland and prevented from happening in Catalonia. Veering clear of fence-sitting, we reckon we’ve got it right for once here in Blighty: let the people speak! Credit Catalonians with the intelligence to decide for themselves! But anyway, we should probably stick to what we know, so saying, here’s a look at some of the best that Caledonia and Catalonia have to offer by way of whisky and wine…
Manic-eyed Catalonian Salvador Dalí is a man we can empathise with. Not that we’re mad keen surrealists (though we have been known to don the odd diving suit to tastings). But we love our job and get real satisfaction from sharing joys like Anna de Codorníu Brut Nature Cava NVwith you lovely people. 500 years old and still going strong, Codorníu is a family business with history, being the first Spaniards to use Champagne’s ‘traditional’ method of production. The Anna Brut Nature NV is an elegant, crisp Champagne-alike that is more than worth the £10.50 price tag.
Representing Scotland? Cragganmore 12 Year Old (£35), which is every bit as mellow, smooth and charming as its Alter Ego Kirsty Young. Quintessentially Speyside in character, it has flavours of freshly cut wild flowers and herbs and was described by the late whisky critic Michael Jackson as having ‘the most complex nose of any malt whisky’. Not ‘alf bad. The perfect companion for watching Question Time and shouting at the panellists. Just make sure that Cragg-y host David Dimbleby keeps his mitts off. Anyway, having possibly upset half of Spain with our dalliance with Catalonian politics, we’ll remind ourselves of something Yoko Ono once said…

Ms Ono, it just so happens, is a past curator of London’s Meltdown Festival – tickets for which you may win by dint of subscribing to these emails. Exciting stuff. But that’s in June and, in the meantime, there’s Easter to look forward to (we accept your praise for not banging on about Easter for the entirety of this email…) Apart from the classic lamb and Rioja option (for which we’d recommend Bodegas Luis Alegre’s delicious Koden Rioja 2011, £9.75), there’s always rosé, for people who laugh in the face of convention and match their wines to their whims. The newly-arrived 2013 vintage of Clos Bellane 'Altitude' Côtes du Rhône Rosé is a springtime beauty to set your heart a-flutter with its poetic elegance and Provenҫal-esque panache.

‘Til next time.