hot tub wine machine / by Joe Fattorini

What happens in the hot tub, stays in the hot tub.

Unless of course it's something that would cause colleagues and friends to be amused/horrified/require tests at a GUM clinic. Or means the hot tub needs draining, disinfecting, filtering, refilling, draining again, exorcising, refilling and you have to have a bit of a mental block every time you use it in future. In those circumstances it's fair game. Spill. Go on. What did they do? The dirty buggers.

Onto today's big question. What's the best wine for the hot tub? Is there anything that can beat the mighty Listel Rose available for £7.99 at Ocado (or €2.70 if you know where Cliff goes in France?)

Possibly "Jacuzzi Family Vineyards" in California? Set up by Valeriano Jazuzzi, one of the brothers whose pumps and baths business made the original Jacuzzi. But they make reds and whites and we're looking for something pink.

The main requirements are:

  1. Cheap
  2. Cold
  3. "Easy drinking"
  4. Able to overcome the heady aroma of chlorine
  5. Did I say cheap?

Well, we'll come onto cheap in a minute. Let's start by asking a question that's always useful when facing a new or distinctive challenge: what would Ian Beale do?

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The Sage of Walford says we should have a glass of fizz. Like Graham Beck The Rhona Rose £15.00 from Marks & Spencer. Yes, yes, I know it's more than you thought you were going to spend. But you're enjoying a moment of luxury. Decadence. Indulgence. Those are Ian's toes gently tickling your calf. Don't ruin it with a bottle of "Euine - (wine-flavoured pink beverage. May not contain real wine)" that you bought on offer at Texaco. No. This calls for frothy bubbles, soft red fruit and a ripe juicy finish.

Of course things can get pretty wild in the "HT". So what do you want when everyone is all...

Well, we need to dial it up with the flavour. Also, it is a law universally acknowledged that wine in hot tubs containing more than two people mostly ends up spilling in the water. So we want this to be cheap and fruity. And none come more perfectly qualified than the Pink Mad Bull itself that is the minor legend Toro Loco rose £3.79 from Aldi. Consistently the best value, funster rose in the UK for about 4 years. If you find subtlety and grace here you're doing it wrong. This is a raspberry delight for parties. You see, you didn't have to wait long for "cheap".

It is of course a misconception that all hot tub parties are wild affairs.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Provence Rosé by Château la Mascaronne £12.95 is an altogether more grown up wine. Floral, complex and gently spiced. Serious. But still engaging and fresh just this time with wild fruit and wild herbs from the garrigue. When owner Tom Bove sold his vineyards to Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, he kept this small, immaculate parcel for himself. Hard to work, but reckoned among the greatest sites in Provence, this is a treat for the senses. And if that wasn't enough dinner-party/hot tub anecdotery, this is also where Pink Floyd recorded part of The Wall.

Because far from being the 'nasty sex pond' of the public imagination, hot tubs can be dignified, adult spaces where people of like minds can get over the stresses of the day while gently soaking in pure water, evoking the spirit of Shinto spirituality...

So here are a few recommendations to help mask the reality that someone's forgotten the bubble cycle has finished. Santa Julia, Plus Malbec Rosé, Mendoza 2016 £8.50 from Sainsbury's is big and juicy and packed with soft spices. Whilst those who want to keep it French and classy need to grab a bottle of Tesco, Finest Sancerre Rosé, Loire 2015 £11.00 with a fresher, lighter, zestier take on the strawberries and cream perfume of good rose. And let's not forget the 'special occasion' classics like Whispering Angel Rose, 2016. You can pay anywhere between £16.00 (Waitrose) and £24.00 (Majestic) so make sure you buy clever for a bottle of this juicy, rich and heady rose. If you are going to spend more than £20.00 with the Chateau d'Esclans estate, buy their classier, more Burgundian, food-friendly Rock Angel Rose £21.00 at FromVineyardsDirect.

Finally, is there something that is good value ("cheap"), fizzy, fun, fruity and captures the true spirit of the hot tub as much as...

I reckon you can't go wrong with M&S Rose d'Anjou 2016 on offer right now at £6.00 (normally £9.00). Fresh and bright with lots of juicy, sweet strawberry flavours and cleaner than the water once you get out.

And that is it. It's time to turn the heat up to "lobster boil", put Kenny G on the water-resistant UE Boom and watch the moon rise.

Oh, and please remember to Hot Tub responsibly.