Cricket and wine are comfortable bedfellows. As an amateur, it is quite possible to have a glass or two at lunch and still perform with relative distinction in the afternoon in a way that is not so in rugby union or tennis. Perhaps darts is another such sport, if it is indeed a sport (the jury is out at the pub on that one).
As a spectator, wine is an essential piece of equipment. Unless it is before 11.30, in which case a lukewarm pint of ale will do.
Cricket may be just about England's finest gift to the world, but cricket ground seats are the world's greatest gift to chiropractors. Should the weather hold, you shall spend the better part of 6-8 hours in that seat.
Wine makes the exciting passages of play more jubilant, and a barnacle batsman's stay at the crease more bearable. And as much as there is a rhythm to a Test match, there is a rhythm to drinking at a Test match. Effectively, start with bubbles, progress to white, through pink if it's hot and red if it's not.
- Meonhill Grande Reserve Brut NV - The French claim all kinds of foolish things. Some say that monks in medieval France invented the game of cricket; they even claim to have invented sparkling wine in Champagne. Both complete nonsense of course, and both invented by Englishmen. Drink a bottle of English sparkling wine and better still, drink one from near the alleged birthplace of cricket in Hampshire.
- Domaine du Landreau Jus de Raisin Petillant NV - Truth be told, sometimes you don't want to drink all day. You may have been to the cricket yesterday too. Here's something you can intersperse with the real wine: an unfermented sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire valley. Your fellow spectators need never know.
- Opta Dão Branco 2012 - Moving on to white wine, the first crucial point is that it's a screwcap. You don't want to be bringing corkscrews to the cricket. For one thing, someone in a day-glo vest will imagine it to be an offensive weapon; most importantly, you'll forget it. And you don't want to be trying this in the confined space of a cricket stand. Also you'll want something crisp enough to sip on its own, yet that can go with the mish-mash of supermarket deli aisle foodstuffs that come out of the cool-bag around midday.
- Clos Rocailleux Braucol Rosé 2012 - So now let's suppose you haven't forgotten your corkscrew and you have navigated your way through the turnstiles without falling foul of the Terrorism Act. This is the pink you should bring. If you don't believe me, then believe Jamie Goode. Truth be told, we don't have any pinks under screwcap at the moment. If you need one, try this Cornish bottle by Camel Valley, from the Wine Pantry.
- Vinteloper Adelo Red 2012 - Trust the Aussies to put a supremely decent bottle of red under Stelvin. This is David Bowley's "session wine". Fragrant from the Touriga Nacional and Pinot Noir, peppery ballast from the Shiraz and Grenache. Sort of sums up the Australian cricket team at the moment too: a bunch of grapes that really shouldn't work together, but end up having the last laugh. Seriously now though, this is seriously good.