23 Mar 2008

Fine Fettle

‘Food is an important part of a balanced diet…’
[Fran Lebowitz, Queen of the one-liners]
ONCE A centre for the weigh-in - scold, starve - then weigh-out 700 calories per day ‘F-Plan’ diet, Ragdale Hall Health Hydro now provides a far more leisurely experience. So no more bribing the porter for an illicit Mars bar.
My parents invited me to escape the capital and spend the Easter weekend with them at the gentrified fat farm, which rises large out of the Melton Mowbray plain.
Accepting their generosity, I used the time to unwind, beginning Edward Steinberg’s ‘Vines of San Lorenzo’, the story of Angelo Gaja’s Barbaresco revolution. I have been meaning to read this clever adventure for a couple of years (a fuller review will follow soon). I also had a full body massage...
Dreams of a beautiful, blonde Swede with pellucid, peripatetic fingers were shattered when the strapping black masseur asked me, in his deep voice, whether I preferred a “tender” or “intense” service. Facing this gender disparity I wanted to leave, but cowardly gave in to the latter (in the unlikley case I might enjoy the former). A spine straightening, shoulder cracking, neck poking escapade ensued.
Thankfully, later at dinner I uncovered treasure at a relaxing price: Château Lynch-Bages '99 (£45). A.K.A. 'Lunch Bags', this lavish fifth cru (sadly undecanted) was intensely centred with a dark truffle, blackcurrant, cedar nose suggesting sweetly sauced, peppered game, graphite and even a little powdered coal. On the palate it was noticeably quite high in alcohol with fine earth/sandy tannins.