The burly French butcher eyed me suspiciously, as if my accent had betrayed un peu trop de rosbif.
He pulled out from beneath the counter an enormous slab of bovine flesh, and sunk his glistening blade into it with a sickening thud.
Mon Dieu, I thought to myself, this is the Riviera’s answer to Sweeney Todd.
Slap, my steak was dispatched to the scales.
“Ca sera tout merci” I muttered, quickly settling and making for the exit.
Back in the flat I pondered how best to do this beast justice.
Slather it in olive oil, garlic, and a bit of seasoning I decided, and give it a good sizzle on the barbie.
My barbecue, purchased for a snip at 18 Euros from our friends in Leclerc, and of extremely poor quality, took a little while to get going, so I decided to employ my WSET Diploma Unit 2 Study Guide as a means of fanning the coals.
We were up and roaring in no time, giving me a small window of opportunity to decant half a bottle of Ornellaia Le Volte 2009, a recommendation from The Oracle (Helen).
Shortly afterwards I seated myself in front of a plate of beautifully grilled steak and vegetables.
I took a mouthful, and then, what I had really been waiting for, a sip of Le Volte.
My mouth was coated with a torrent of sweet red and black fruit, plums, cherry, and trademark Italian acidity.
The wine was rich and rounded, extremely approachable in its relative youth, in part no doubt because of the 50% Merlot in the blend.
Full-bodied yet not heavy, the velvety tannins marrying perfectly with the succulent red meat.
Eating and sipping, eating and sipping, it’s always the sign of a good food match, and this was that at its most simple.
Munching away happily, serenaded by the sound of the cicadas, and the occasional whizz of a moped on the road below, the balmy heat of the day having eased a little, I knew I was in a good place.
Chris Ashton- FWW