In England in the Xth century people considered February 11 to be “the day the birds began to sing”, an early sign of spring and new life. I had a similar experience of renewal when I tried a few days ago Valenciso Reserva 2004. I have already written in this blog about the fantastic Valenciso project in Ollauri, Rioja, but let me add that the wine they have just put on the market surpasses anything I have tried in the last years.

The epiphany went like this. We had gathered for dinner at home and we were discussing this 2009 “winter of discontent” (“Now is the winter of our discontent / Made glorious summer by this son of York/ And all the clouds that low’r’d upon our house/ In the deep bosom of the ocean buried”).

Friendship and Valenciso did the trick. In the Shakespeare play, Richard, the future king, for a while does not protest his discontent but celebrates his fortunes. Just like him, we did not mourn over the present state of affairs and we enjoyed wine and conversation. The next morning, of course, the birds were singing.