We haven’t heard much from the Penniless Pensioner in some time. He contacted me and apologized for not keeping in touch with me. He says he had taken up with a Russian oligarch Svetlana before “all this Ukraine crap”. Svetlana apparently made a fortune in vodka, oil and fentanyl and was staying in her Toronto luxury penthouse condo at The Lonsdale in Forest Hill a tony suburb in Toronto. In fact she has the penthouse above PP but was rarely in Toronto. Well they exchanged pleasantries in the lobby one day and the rest is history. It wasn’t long before they were a couple. PP and Svetlana were cruising in the Adriatic on her luxury yacht when the Russian invasion started. She ordered the captain to nip into Serbia up the Danube as the Serbs were siding with the Russians. PP and Svetlana headed back to Toronto where she is keeping a low profile. She had squirreled away much of her money in Canada through a labyrinth of holding companies so she remained flush with cash for the time being. PP says he does not want to talk politics with his sweetie Svetlana. There is a nasty rumour PP says which is filthy and slanderous that she had a love child with Putin called Igor.
In any case PP invited me over to try some unbelievably cheap French wine as Svetlana would be at the dog fights all night. So it was an Atipic a Pays D’Oc wine for $13.95. PP looked great with a glorious tan and an upbeat attitude. But he was concerned about the amount of vodka and caviar Svetlana scoffs down each day! PP rolls his eyes and says that “those Russkes” brush their teeth with vodka and that two shots are enough for him but for Svetlana that is just getting started.
As for aromatics a stream of black cherry greets the nose like a vapour trail from a Stinger missile. There are lesser notes of blueberry and strawberry jam lurking on the edges like timid Russian soldiers more intent on running than staying and fighting. On the palate there is an unexpected brief flirtation with sweetness which transcends onto the finish giving the wine a unique quality. Notes of raspberry, cherry and blueberry in a light tannic framework. This bizarre twist of fleeting sweetness adds some charm to a wine that otherwise might have been categorized as cheap n cheerful like a minor KGB official before a ruthless ascension to power.
A good sipping wine. For food there is that adage you match sweet with sweet although how do you match a fleeting sweetness? Try this. Sautee an onion and throw in six cups of sliced mushrooms. Sweat the shrooms down then add a can of diced tomatoes and a half cup of brown sugar with salt and pepper to your liking. Bubble away until the sauce is done and serve over bucatini making sure you are wearing a bib as bucatini can cause collateral slurping damage. A great match like a Patriot missile taking out a Russian MIG at 30,000 feet.
(Atipic 2019 Pays D’Oc IGP, Caves de Roquebrun, Roquebrun, France, $13.95, Liquor Control Board of Ontario # 21268,750 mL, 13%, Robert K. Stephen A Little Birdie Told Me So Rating 89/100).