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Wine that is out of this world

Worth exploring: Burrows Lightbourn stocks four “great” vintages of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron (Photograph supplied)

I asked The Royal Gazette if they still wanted me to submit an article for today and they replied in the affirmative. One friend suggested that I write about the antiseptic character of alcohol and so on, but I feel that if I can cause a chuckle or smile I will have accomplished my goal.As unlikely as it may seem, I can assure you that we will get to a specific wine and wine type and it is all connected, but first let me set the stage and then tell you my story.Early mornings will usually find me walking to town and back and, to pass the time, I often daydream.Here is a common one. I am passing the roundabout (still miss my old friend Johnny) and I notice that a spaceship has landed in the park at the foot of our harbour.I approach it and the aliens inform me that they have come to warn us as they are concerned about our tendency to create powerful weapons and they believe that we are on the verge of understanding quantum entanglement, warp drives, worm holes and so on.We could shortly become a threat to other civilisations! “May I show you our better, although unnecessary, traits?” I ask.They agree and off we go to Paris and, as I am explaining the Mona Lisa, I spot a fine stereo system and I put on Tchaikovsky’s Sixth Symphony or, possibly more appropriately, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon. A bottle of Château Pichon-Longueville Baron (we stock four great vintages) happens to be sitting on a table and, as I pour them each a glass, I explain how we trap all that Mother Earth and her climate offer us in this precious liquid.We part company with them telling me that we indeed exhibit some amazing qualities to share and they will help us towards a path of peace and love.The event that I am about to describe took place almost twenty years ago.I believe that the year is 2002 and I find myself working three evenings a week as a part-time sommelier in one of our finest restaurants.I spot a couple, obviously from their manner and attire, visiting business executives.I present the wine list and the gentleman orders a bottle and as I am off to the cellar to fetch it, a broad smile engulfs my face, as I will get the chance to tell one of my favourite wine stories.As I show the bottle I incredulously hear him saying to his lady-friend.“You will notice, on the label, a cigar shaped spacecraft shooting a ray down on the earth below.“The wine is called Cigar Volant, as the French call such ships flying cigars.”He points out the alien head on the screw cap, and even explains that winery owner and winemaker Randy Grahm (known as the Rhone Ranger in California) actually held a funeral for a cork in New York City, as they buried “the old stinker”; English wine critic Jancis Robinson delivered the eulogy for “Monsieur Bouchon”.I am totally deflated and, even worse, he tells her the point of it all in great detail. “In 1954 there was considerable concern about a visitation from aliens and the wise town elders in Châteauneuf du Pape passed an ordinance that it would be illegal for alien spacecraft to land in their vineyards (still 100 per cent effective after sixty-six orbits around our sun). By now, I must find out how he has such knowledge, and I suspect that he deals with a wine merchant, in a large East Coast city, who loves to tell a good story.And now for the crunch!“My wine merchant told it to me, and I often order the wine for delivery to my home from him, and perhaps you know him,” he says. “His name is Michael Robinson.” I reach in my pocket for my business card and, as I show it to him, I ask: “Surely not this Michael Robinson?” “One and the same and why do you have his card?” “Because I am him,” I answer. “If I may be so bold, who the heck are you?” He tells me, and it so happens that we had dealt by phone and e-mail for some years, but never met face to face.Over the ensuing years, he and his now wife have become good friends.For better times, let me suggest a few Châteauneuf du Pape offerings that I can guarantee suffer from no vine damage done by landing space vehicles.And, incidentally, I discovered a few bottles of Cigar Volant in our shop next to The Supermart. We have not imported it for some time.As far as the French version goes, I feel it inappropriate to actually try to sell you a bottle at this time, but between ourselves and Discovery Wines, we do have very fine examples.Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe La Crau 2012 is classic. Other wonderful ones that are sitting in our warehouse are Delas, Domaine de Pagau (a few), Laurence Feraud and Chapoutier. Stay safe dear readers, hunker down and let us get through this together.• This column is an advertorial for Burrows Lightbourn Ltd. E-mail mrobinson@bll.bm or 295-0176. Burrows Lightbourn has stores in Hamilton (Front Street East, 295-1554), Paget (Harbour Road, 236-0355) and St George’s (York Street, 297-0409). Visit wineonline.bm