Flat Pimms!At a recent reception, drinks were being passed around by cheery waiters wearing lurid shirts and burgundy waistcoats; it was a sunny day and I grabbed a Pimms. It was flat.

It’s difficult to find a good excuse for that. Despite all the various fruit and veg that’s shoved into a Pimms pitcher, the fundamental act of mixing two liquids isn’t even as tricky as tying shoelaces. Maybe the good people at Pimms should do what they did at Guinness, a while back, and educate people on how it’s prepared.

I left my flat Pimms on the side, as a lure for wasps, a task it performed wonderfully well.

I reached for a glass of red wine and after only a sniff, could feel an attack of heartburn coming on. I replaced it on the tray. If scant excuse can be found for serving flat Pimms what can be said for serving wine like that? It’s a form of torture really, tantalising guests with the promise of free alcohol and serving cheap sour wine. I grabbed a glass of white, expecting it to taste like battery acid.

It didn’t. It was lemony and full bodied, but wasn’t a chardonnay; it was herbaceous and zippy, but not a sauvignon. It was a verdelho from New South Wales and it was delicious. It’s a wine that will come to more prominence in coming years offering as it does something very familiar and yet different at the same time. It was like finding a diamond in a sack of coal and I was as surprised as I was delighted.

My parting words would be that if you are ever hosting a reception, please make the effort to find something drinkable. Although you might have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding a prince, it is possible to source decent wines at low prices. I can think of no situation where people are happy or impressed with sour piss – apart from a hideous law society cheese and wine party I went to in 1993. But more about that another time.

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