The first blogposts in our #umamuments series, here we read how writer and longtime friend Jo Parfitt found balance & contentment during her 60th birthday in lockdown, the loss of her husbands' parents and a surprise delivery of 6 bottles of UMAMU Estate wines. Sign up to our newsletter to see how you can be featured on our blog and win 3 bottles of UMAMU of your choosing.
24 March 2021, Crouch End, London
I wasn’t looking forward to my 60th birthday one bit. In truth I was trying to ignore the number, however gentle and curvaceous it might be, that loomed one sleep hence. I planned on hiding from the world for the day, glad that Covid restrictions meant I could not have a party.
Around 4pm the doorbell rang at our North London flat. I pressed the buzzer to release the front door and called down the two flights of stairs to the front door.
“You can leave it there!” I shouted. It didn’t seem fair that delivery drivers had to climb up here too.
“No problem. I’ll come up!” shouted a cheery voice and soon a blonde-haired chap was on my doorstep.
“I guess you need to leave the box there and take a photo, right?” I said, used by now to the Covid rules that meant delivery drivers no longer needed a signature.
“I’ll bring it in!” he continued. “No need.”
Already this was a different kind of delivery and a different kind of parcel. I saw the label: UMAMU! Oh my goodness, it was my most favourite wine, sent as a gift by the grower herself. My unwelcome birthday took a turn for the very much better.
“I’ve got six bottles!” I shrieked with joy, ripping open the box to take a closer look. “Oh my God! The dates! 2007, 2008! Oh crikey, my favourite Cabernet Merlot! The amazing Sauvignon Blanc!” I turned the bottles in my hands and noticed the foiled labels of the awards they’d won and the unmistakable logo, written in Ann Saw’s own handwriting, balance and contentment. This was one very special gift.
Was it acceptable to celebrate birthday eve, much like we celebrate Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, I wondered? Of course it was! I picked out the Shiraz, reached for the corkscrew and summoned my husband, Ian, and my mother, who were there with me ready to celebrate the very big day.
“No! Let me decant it!” Ian said. “This is way too special to glug straight into the glasses.” Without a doubt, UMAMU wines deserve such ceremony.
We raised our glasses and swirled the wine round in our palms, watching the legs caress the sides of the goblets. We drank in the aroma with our noses first. This was a wine to be savoured with every sense as we stretched out the experience for as long as we could bear.
“I can smell fresh thyme! What about you, Ian?” I asked.
“And brown sugar.”
We clinked our glasses and took a photograph that we could not resist posting on social media. With UMAMU my birthday could no longer be a secret. This was too good not to share.