Long time readers will know the 24th of January is when I hide most of the day in bed and write a miserable tasting note that wouldn’t fool a deaf and blind whelk into thinking I’m enjoying myself. This is because today is the anniversary of me first slashing my wrists in the bath and then getting sectioned in the loony bin for three months. But it’s not going to happen this year!
I’ve been seeing a clinical psychologist for psychotherapy purposes and she has taught me some techniques for dealing with anxiety and overwhelming emotions. I am going to explain one set of them here. They are called Gottman’s tasks, and they are four little activities derived from dialectical behavioural therapy to help one regain composure when things are getting unfortunate.
The first task is to do something to alter your body temperature. I’m sure all the ladies in the audience will be happy to picture me as I’ve just stripped off all my clothes and I’m typing this stark naked. With the window open this should alter my body temperature and encourage efficiency in my writing as it’s bloody arse-bitingly freezing.
The second task is to perform a repetitive task that is engaging. Writing out these four tasks, that I’ve committed to memory ready to be deployed at any moment, will fit that description quite well.
For the third task I’m doing two things. The idea is to avoid negative behaviour patterns that can cause destructive activity. Firstly I am typing this in the cat’s room so I’m not tempted to wallow miserably in bed. Kisu the normally social cat is distinctly irked I’ve not only invaded his domain but also significantly lowered the temperature. Secondly, I am drinking out of my most expensive Riedel glass so I am in too much financial fear to smash it and slash myself up if I should find myself feeling excessively distressed.
I doubt I’ll get too distressed, though, as the last task is to do something in line with your values. I’m sure it wouldn’t take a mind like a steel trap (which is to say ‘sharp and fast’ rather than ‘dangerous and illegal’) to realise one of my values is immersing myself in the joys of delicious Burgundy. I shall indulge in that now and give you my tasting note for this scrummy little number.
Savigny-les-Beaune Premier Cru Les Lavieres 2009, Domaine Chandon de Briailles
Cripes, this smells quite ripe! Blackberries and cherries mixed in with the strawberries I’d expect. Quite a lot of personality here with all that hedonistic fruit and rich, pretty complex earthiness. There is even a suggestion of alcoholic warmth to the nose, which must be the first time any such thing has been reported about a Savigny. It smells absolutely delicious, but even though it’s from 2009 I didn’t expect it to be quite so BIG. Ah now the palate has plenty of focussed acidity, that I would expect from a Savigny. Yet, because of the abundant, gloriously attractive fruit, this has the fresh flavour of fun rather than a tart taste of terror. Tannins have some rigour, but not tough by any means. There’s alcoholic sweetness here too which, in this case, is a good thing – it’s quite warming me up as I sit here naked. I’m rather warmed to this task too. I don’t often drink Savigny, it can be harsh, miserable and insipid, and, even though I like them a lot, Chandon de Briailles wines can sometimes lean a little too far toward the angular: bugger me if this one isn’t spot on! So drinking this is very much in line with my values. It’ll age and improve for a while longer too; amazing! However, I feel my bones ageing and deteriorating as I sit in the draft from the window so I will draw this tasting note to a close and go and adjust my body temperature to something warmer in a different part of the flat.
A success, I feel, for Chandon de Briailles, Gottman’s tasks and me. It’s my main time-tabled misery day for the year and I have managed to avoid getting caught up in unhappy memories and remain cheered whilst consuming a cheeky charmer. Best 24th of January I can recall (up until 7:45am anyway)!