For all the wine fanatics out there…

The Oxford Wine Academy’s Summer School on the Appreciation of Fine Wine

Animula, vagula, blandula
Hospes comesque corporis
Quae nunc abibis in loca
Pallidula, rigida, nudula,
Nec, ut soles, dabis iocos.

P. Aelius Hadrianus Imp.

Gentle little soul, fluttering, flickering,
Guest and companion of my body,
Drifting, descending for parts
Dark, forbidding, and barren,
Linger still to play once more on these sunlit shores.

Translated by Neel Burton

James Flewellen (author of the Oxford Wine Blog) and I are pleased to announce a new summer school on the appreciation of fine wine, to be held at Exeter College, Oxford between the 11th and 17th of August 2012.

Amongst the highlights of the summer school are a focus session on champagne, our own ‘Judgement of Oxford’ in which you will blind taste some of the finest wines from around the world, and a friendly and informal blind tasting match to round-off the week and put your newly-acquired skills to the test.

You can find out more about the Oxford Course on Wine by visiting our brand new website (just click on the picture above) and/or by writing to us. For now we are keeping a mailing list of people who might be interested in the course, so thank you for letting us know if you would like to have your name added to this list.

Thank you also for forwarding the link to friends and colleagues. We have decided to cap off numbers at 18 to keep the group intimate and ensure that there is plenty of wine to go around, but if there is a lot of interest we may well look into doing a re-run of the course.

Cheers!

I bring fresh showers for the thirsting flowers,
From the seas and the streams;
I bear light shade for the leaves when laid
In their noonday dreams.
From my wings are shaken the dews that waken
The sweet buds every one,
When rocked to rest on their mother’s breast,
As she dances about the sun.
I wield the flail of the lashing hail,
And whiten the green plains under,
And then again I dissolve it in rain,
And laugh as I pass in thunder.

I am the daughter of Earth and Water,
And the nursling of the Sky;
I pass through the pores of the ocean and shores;
I change, but I cannot die.
For after the rain when with never a stain
The pavilion of Heaven is bare,
And the winds and sunbeams with their convex gleams
Build up the blue dome of air,
I silently laugh at my own cenotaph,
And out of the caverns of rain,
Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb,
I arise and unbuild it again.

Ingredients (serves 6)
1. 3 eggs
2. 3 tablespoons caster sugar
3. 3 tablespoons marsala wine or madeira or sherry
4. 250g mascarpone
5. savoiardi (lady fingers) biscuits
6. amaretti biscuits
7. expresso coffee
8. cocoa

Instructions
1. Separate the egg yolks from the whites
2. Beat the yolks together with the sugar and gradually fold in the mascarpone and marsala wine
3. Beat the whites into stiff peaks and fold into the above mixture
4. Layer a dish with a small fraction of this combined mixture
5. Make expresso coffee, ideally in a cafetière
6. Dip the savoiardi and amaretti biscuits into the coffee and lay them out in the dish (see picture below)
7. Add a second layer of the combined mixture
8. Add a second layer of coffee-soaked biscuits
9. Add a third layer of the combined mixture
10. Dust with cocoa
11. Put in the fridge for at least 2 hours

Thanks to James Flewellen, author of the Oxford Wine Blog, for teaching me this wonderful recipe.

The second layer of the mascarpone mixture is about to go on