Friday, 20 July 2012

Island Living

Our Islands Man at Large

“Bring us a decent bottle of wine if you’ve got room” was a final plea from our son Toby before we set off for a first visit to the island where he and his wife Rosie have been living since last September. Well, the Islands are my only Wine In Cornwall responsibility, so here was a request to which I had to respond!
Rather farther away than the Scillies though, this particular island, situated as it is some 50 miles off the south coast of South Korea. Much farther away, but not that much more expensive to get to, it has to be said. Comparison of airfares shows that the cost of flying from London to Seoul (5,500 miles) is about 6 pence a mile compared with the Penzance to St Mary’s (40 miles) rate of £2.35 per mile!!...... and you get fed!

Toby and Rosie are on a 3 year contract working at a very fine, newly built boarding school, the first enterprise to open its doors in the ‘Global Education City’ being created by the South Korean government on the otherwise tourist based island of Jeju. It has been a great experience for them helping to implant a very traditional English boarding school into a very different culture, but their hard work and that of all the staff has produced great results. Their only disappointment with Korea has been the rather strange traditional cuisine, which seems to rely heavily on Kimchi, shredded cabbage that has been pickled/fermented for extended periods in clay pots buried in the ground. Finding a wine that would be a good match had me at a loss, for the first time ever!

For Barbara and me it was a splendid holiday. We were able to enjoy the end-of-year Arts Festival, the Summer Ball and Village Fete (which, once they overcame their initial shock at some of the more traditional English pursuits, was enthusiastically enjoyed by students and their parents alike). We swam in the new 25 metre pool, sang with the (whole) school choir and were bowled over by the friendliness and courtesy of all the youngsters (practically all Korean). Toby even found time to take us out to see something of the island, which certainly whetted our appetites for next year’s visit.

So, back to that bottle. What I took was Patrice Rion’s Vielles Vignes Nuits St George, (£34 from Wine In Corwnwall). It was more than ‘a decent bottle of wine’. Much more. Superb, in fact, with glorious raspberry fruit intertwined with those alluring Burgundy vegetal aromas.
But not with Kimchi– definitely not!