A Bottle of Cold Duck

Do you remember a wine called Cold Duck, come to think of it don’t admit it just remember it with a wry smile. For those who don’t know it or haven”t heard of it or simply wish they didn’t remember it, Cold Duck was a bubbly ‘Sparkling Light Red’ wine from Kaiser Stuhl. I can put the quotation marks in because I have the very bottle sitting in front of me as I write.

Now Cold Duck was extremely popular in the sixties with a great number of people who found the old Leibfraumilch a little old hat and tasted a bit like a sugary old hat at that. So we replaced mothers little helper, there were courser names but I won’t admit to knowing them with a bubbly drop of cold Duck.

A whole generation of up and coming groovers drank the stuff and the sound of Cold Duck corks hitting cheap plastic light fittings was heard across the land every Saturday night.

But Cold Duck soon became the marketeers dead duck and it was seen no more. Some of those possibly less than discerning drinkers it is said, went straight toward the Grange Hermitage route to insobriety, some went downhill less than tastefully, with Passion Fruit Pop and others simply drowned in Rough Red or at least until the emergence of Chardonnay.

Then in a dusty cupboard in suburban Arncliffe in Sydney in 199 a minor miracle occurred, I could have gilded the Lilly with the rest of the story and say it was in circulation all that time but I just can’t.

There it was and had waited its moment of glory for thirty five years under a kitchen sink cupboard no less. We found it when my wife’s parents were selling their Arncliffe home. Naturally we laid claim on this true relic of party history and proudly displayed it in pride of place on our own sideboard.

Our next party went off with a bang as usual, but not with the sacred Cold Duck bang and fizz of an opened bottle of the precious liquid naturally.

Next morning, cleaning up the detritus of the previous evenings debauch I gently lifted the sacred bottle from its perch, when I spied a label on the rear of the bottle which heretofore was labeless.

The label read (with thanks to the celebrated author, we all celebrated hard in those days)

THIS RARE WINE SHOULD NOT BE CONSUMED.

YOU SHOULD TAKE IT TO A PARTY, DRINK THE HOSTS GOOD WINE AND LEAVE IT BEHIND LIKE A SUCCESSION OF CHEAP BASTARDS HAVE BEEN DOING FOR THIRTY YEARS.

PLEASE PASS ON THIS SACRED TRUST

Only a Cuckoo would think of that, and I treasure that bottle of Cold Duck more than any Grange Hermitage could ever be treasured.



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