In praise of the inventor of champagne

Posted by Victor Keegan on September 03, 2013
champagne, Engilsh vineyards, Merrett, Poems, sparkling wine, Uncategorized / No Comments


Bride Valley Vineyard, Dorset, grower of classic grapes for sparkling wine

From Victor Keegan’s new book Alchemy of Age published this week

What makes Champagne go full throttle
Is secondary fermentation in a bottle.
This is an invention without which
Sparkling wine would be mere kitsch.
And who made this spectacular advance?
In folk law, a monk, Dom Perignon of France.
But wait. hear Christopher Merrett’s scientific view,
Which he wrote in a paper in sixteen hundred and sixty two
Without any mock Gallic piety,
He told the newly formed Royal Society
He’d invented this huge oenological advance
That let wine ferment in bottles first,
That were strong enough not to burst.
Britain’s gift to an ungrateful France –
It created that country’s strongest brand.
So, let’s raise a glass in our hand,
To a great man’s invention from afar
And drink to the Methode – not Champenois
But Merrettois. Let all by their merrets be
Judged that the whole world can see
That however we may be thought insane,
We gave the French – for free – Champagne

You can buy Alchemy of Age here

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A Thames sonnet

Posted by Victor Keegan on June 05, 2013
Poems, Uncategorized / No Comments








Thames sonnet
(after George Turberville)

You mongrel stream with often moody tide

In Cotswold hills from silken springs do rise

Meand’ring meadows where the cowslips hide

By drooping trees that cramp your flowing sides.

Flow sweetly till the furious sea you meet

Will stain your pristine flow with brackish look

And hurl you back upstream in forced retreat,

Mix salt into the sweetness of your brook.

While you your watery wars do thus pursue

You split the town in two – to north and south

Londoners know themselves by where they grew

As you can tell as soon they open mouth

But they all know what lies behind each squall

Without a Thames there’d be no town at all.