The Union Canal begins not far from our front door and it has become a favourite spot for an afternoon stroll. Today there's a mildness in the air that we haven't felt for some time so take the opportunity to take in some fresh air. The tow path is alive with joggers, cyclists and walkers. The Union Canal is one of two Lowland canals in Scotland. After four years' construction it opened in 1822 and was known as the Edinburgh and Glasgow Union Canal. The name reflected the role of the canal, linking Edinburgh with the Forth and Clyde Canal at Falkirk and so providing a through route between Scotland's two major cities. You can still make your way from Edinburgh to Glasgow along the canal, something Monsieur Vin did last summer, on two wheels rather than two legs, in preparation for a charity bike ride.
Along this section of the canal there are rowers, boat trips and dining cruises. Towering tenement housing appears periodically on either side, interspersed with sports fields holding Sunday league football matches. As I duck under one of the many bridges, negotiating the wet cobbles, a bank of bright fresh daffodils come in to view. Four enormous swans leave the water, slowly, wings beating hard take to the air expertly avoiding the low bridge.
The dusk starts to fall as I am reminded that winter's grip still hasn't let go of the world just yet. The temperature drops slightly and I'm glad to be welcomed by the warmth of home. The smell of roast chicken fills the flat as Monsieur Vin puts the finishing touches to a traditional Sunday dinner. The rich fruity gravy inspires me to choose a Gewurztraminer to accompany the meal.
It's an organic one from Jean Becker purchased from Oddbins (for around £10). I don't think I have been let down by an Alsace wine and this still holds true after tasting this one. It's pale, lemon/green in colour. It's intense on the nose with youthful floral, lychees and honeysuckle. It's balanced on the palate with tropical fruit characteristics - pineapple and mango. A good example of an Alsace Gewurztraminer.