As a post this is almost a week behind the time. The excuse is that firstly I’ve just found the reference (in an old copy of Decanter) and secondly, it’s just too good a coincidence.
Graham’s 1948 Vintage Port shares my name and my birth year – and now I find that on my birthday John D Symington whose family still own this legendary port house, reporting on the harvest prospects for 1948, wrote “Grapes looking healthy and nice and very sweet.”
In early September 1666 the Great Fire of London swept through the medieval City, destroying more than 13,000 houses as well as 87 churches and St Paul’s Cathedral. It had started shortly after midnight on 2 September in Thomas Faryner’s Pudding Lane bakery. Samuel Pepys’s house in Seething Lane, just half a mile to the east, was in the line of the fire which was driven westward by strong winds and Pepys was worried. What concerned him was not so much for his personal safety as for his gold, his wine – and his cheese.
Kay brought back for me from Berlin a bottle of ratafia. What’s that you may say? Well, ratafia is a generic name for grape brandy mixed with grape (or apple) juice and flavoured with spices, fruits or herbs. There are versions in Burgundy, Armagnac, Spain, Italy and elsewhere. Not excepting Germany. This particular ratafia is infused with flowers (dahlias in fact) grown in the garden of Expressionist painter Emil Nolde’s garden and transformed into an aromatic liqueur by Martina Kabitzsc of Manufaktur von Blythen in Berlin.
Possibly the right colour…
Emil Nolde Stiftung, Berlin