Let's Eat

Thirst service is a winner at Wimbledon


It may be sunny as you read these words. It may be grey. As long as it isn’t raining, a number of people will be playing tennis matches on grass courts somewhere in south-west London. You might be planning to watch them do that, on television, or even in SW19.
And if you do watch, strawberries may well pop into your mind. As a prelude, of course, to popping into your mouth. Following a wet June, supplies of the red jewels may be somewhat lower than we’d like. But as long as there is a Wimbledon, there will be a strawberry. And a dollop of cream.
And, in all likelihood, a glass of wine.
Many Wimbledon-watchers insist that strawberries and cream need champagne. They could not be more wrong. Strawberries and cream are sweet, and most champagne is dry. There is sweet champagne (called sec, demi-sec, rich or doux in ascending levels of sweetness) and these can be wonderful. You just don’t see them very much. Even Berry Bros & Rudd sells just one — a cracker — from Pol Roger.
So if not champagne with strawberries, what will it be? In my view, the perfect grape variety for strawberries is muscat. A Muscat de Beaumes de Venise is pretty easy to find just about anywhere, but this variety does well in a lot of places. Such as Chile’s cool-climate valley, source of Tabali Encantado Late Harvest Muscat 2010 (£7.59/37.5cl from Waitrose). A lushly honeyed palate with fine acidity balancing.
My second recommendation will probably horrify some colleagues, but Gallo Family Vineyards Moscato is quite a pleasant little number at a low price (Sainsbury’s, Asda and Co-op, £6.79). It is an utterly mindless wine — the P G Wodehouse of muscats rather than the Tolstoy. But everyone needs a little Bertie Wooster occasionally.
If it has to be fizz, a plea to make it Prosecco. The stone-fruit characters of these attractive, well-priced wines makes a fair partnership with berries of all kinds. You can get good Prosecco all over, but Tesco Finest Bisol Prosecco di Valdobbiadene (£9.99) is a Granny Smith-crisp specimen that really hits the spot. SW19, here we come. It may be in person, it may be on telly, but it will always be with strawberries.

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