‘An excellent year’

Mr Crabtree squinted at the thin black text on the label. ‘Do-maine Mu-sig-ny,’ he read out loud. ‘Grand cru.’ He opened the card. ‘To the best maths tutor Max has ever had,’ it read. The words ‘best’ and ‘ever’ were underlined with some force. All best wishes, Jacqueline Ross. P.S. Do enjoy the wine. 2012 – an excellent year!

As it turned out, Lenny didn’t enjoy the wine. He was more of an ale man if he drank at all, and at the end of every term he had more bottles than he knew what to do with. It languished in the cupboard until his first date with a woman he’d met on Tinder. He was new to the dating game, and hadn’t expected to meet anyone so soon. He knew he shouldn’t arrive empty handed, and hurriedly picked this red on the strength of Mrs Ross’s enthusiasm. If she liked it – and she was a very wealthy lady – then it would certainly be good enough for Margaret.

How bloody unimaginative, Mags thought as she placed the bottle with a dozen others in the larder. It was what they always brought. The flouncy label tried too hard; it was probably tart grape juice from a Calais hypermarket. Why was it never something she really wanted; a bottle of Bristol Cream or an Amazon gift card? Hopefully the evening wouldn’t drag on too long, and she wouldn’t need to open it.

Mags was glad of the opportunity to purge her larder at the annual church raffle. ‘Five or a zero, three for a pound’. Stu had to choose between a litre of jasmine bath liquid and the bottle of Musigny. ‘No contest,’ he said reaching for the wine with a glint in his eye.

‘Mu-sig-ny,’ he mused to himself some days later. Stu had always been interested in wine. So interested, he’d been sober for seven years. Something made him type the words from the label into Google. He gasped. A LeRoy. 2012. £17,000.

At that very moment, his daughter opened the boot of the car to find the bottle, wrapped in an old carrier bag and swaddled in a nearly new scarf. ‘Mum, is that what I think it is?’

Stu heard the familiar breathless chug of a bottle being upended and emptied at speed into the sink. He ran downstairs. ‘This had better be good Stuart,’ she snapped. ‘Go on then.’