Friday, 19 July 2013


Ah, the smack of leather on willow, cucumber sandwiches and cream teas on the boundary, ripples of applause from the members' pavillion, wearing ties in the midday sun... On a glorious summer's day, I doubt there are few things more quintessentially English than the game of cricket. And just as the weather was coming good last week, the Ashes series between England and Australia began.

Cricket was, is and will always be part of the fabric of English life. This is reflected, among other things, by the sport's contribution to the English language through metaphors. You can be stumped, hit for six, or bowled a googly. Alternatively, you can break your duck, get caught out, have a good innings (normally after having passed away), swing both ways, go in to bat (sometimes for the other side), keep your end up, play off the back foot, play off the front foot, or offer a straight or dead bat (especially to awkward, niggling questions from newspaper journalists). Cheating, on the other hand, is just not cricket. Even on a sticky wicket.

Talking of wickets, it would be worth pointing out that a cricket groundsman in Australia is referred to as the "curator". In UK English, the "groundsman" or, occasionally, "groundswoman" is generally the person in charge of maintaining and nurturing the (grass) surface of play in cricket and other sports (except for golf - they're called "greenkeepers"). Unfortunately, Germans now commonly refer to all groundsmen and groundswomen, regardless of sport, as "Greenkeeper" - with a capital "G" and no "s" in the plural, in keeping with German grammar. Personally, I blame Uli Hoeness.

As a romantic, I would like to think that winemaker Roland Pfleger grew up watching cricket in Australia in some sort of parallel universe. Herr Pfleger's top red wines belong to his "Edition Curator" line. Although, in reality, Herr Pfleger probably sees himself more as a curator in the sense of someone who nurtures his vineyards and wines as opposed to ensuring a decent batting track that still offers a chance for the bowling side. (Strictly speaking, the German noun "Pfleger" means "carer", "care worker" or "nurse".)

This, I admit, is a slightly roundabout way of introducing my next wine, which is not one of Herr Pfleger's top wines but worthwhile nonetheless.

Weingut Jakob Pfleger, Herxheimer Kirchenstück Merlot trocken 2010, Pfalz, Germany
Generally ruby in appearance with violety hints. Cool and cherry-like on the nose with leathery notes and a touch of dark chocolate. On the palate, the impression is similar. Coolness of flavour and overall elegance are the main themes. This wine has a lovely silky texture but with adequate acidity to keep the juices flowing.

Priced just below 10 euro, this is a very good effort and - I am sure - a good introduction to the more rarified quality of the Curator range.

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