It would mean a lot to me and to thousands and thousands of people who lead much less privileged lives than we do if you could do something in aid of Wine Relief, the wine-related fundraising campaign in aid of Comic Relief, which culminates in Red Nose Day on Friday 13 March.
I've already written here about Red Nose Red and Red Nose White, widely stocked in the UK at £4.99, with £1 going straight to Comic Relief's excellent and sustained work helping people to help themselves in Africa and the UK. (They focus on Africa because it's the poorest continent. Nowadays I'm tempted to say they also focus on the UK because it's one of the poorest countries in the world, but I will resist the temptation.)
But there is an even more dramatic and memorable way of making a really significant contribution to Comic Relief's long-term projects designed to change lives for the better. On Friday 13 Mar, Red Nose Day, I will be co-hosting the most magnificent Big Red Nose Dinner in the Napoleon Cellar of Berry Bros (as featured on BB4 last Monday night - see here) in St James's Street, London SW1. My co-hosts will be tv stars Simon Berry and Simon Staples of Berrys plus Frédéric Engerer of Château Latour, who has generously shipped the following vintages for what should be an unforgettable evening: 1991, 1983, 1981, 1978, 1975, 1973, 1971, 1967 and 1964, all supplied in big format bottles direct from the château's own cellars. This is an unrivalled chance to taste top wines of irreproachable provenance from the Bordeaux property with a reputation for producing the greatest consistency across very different vintages.
There will also be a small auction of some very special wines extremely kindly donated by their makers:
-Impériales of 15 of Bordeaux's greatest 2005s, including all the first growths
-A super-rare Balthazar of each of Châteaux Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion
And Simon Berry is equally generously offering:
-A tour of Bordeaux guided by Simon Berry - four people for two nights
-A private dinner in Berrys' Directors' Dining Room (it is not known whether an ancient vintage of Cos will be served blind there, as in the BBC film)
I will also be offering
-A private tutored tasting with me
Berry Bros team of chefs will be preparing
Ballotine of quail and boudin blanc
shallot tarte fine hazelnut dressing
Carpaccio of seared beef, mushroom croquettes
cured foie gras and truffle
Spinach stuffed saddle of lamb, braised lamb
boulongere and glazed carrot
Selection of cheese
Berrys selected coffee and chocolates
Tickets are £1,000 each - a nice round number that will make a real difference to lives in Africa and the UK. All proceeds will go straight to Comic/Wine Relief. To book or find out more go to www.bbr.com/about/wine-relief. I can assure you we will have an exceptional and very intimate evening.
Those who feel like shelling out a nice round number in aid of a good cause but are closer to New York than London might like to find this year's La Paulée de New York on 7 Mar. This giant bottle party is organised by sommelier Daniel Johnnes in aid of Citymeals on Wheels and is, by all accounts, a major assault on the stocks of fine burgundy held in the US. There is the usual stellar lineup for this year's edition, including the semi-reclusive Jean-François Coche of Domaine Coche-Dury in Meursault, who is doing his first-ever wine event in the US. For more information see www.lapaulee.com