The eagerly awaited 2011 Guide to Good Communion Wine was published yesterday at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The Guide, known simply to aficionados as ‘The Bible’, lists the best locations for communion wine the length and breadth of the country, including tasting notes and awarding the coveted Golden Chalice to the parish which is adjudged to have served the best Eucharistic tipple of the year.
‘What many people don’t realise,’ said Guide editor Rev Henry Newcombe, ‘is how many churches now boast their own micro wineries. Competition between the parishes can be very fierce. A favourable review and word of a vicar with a heavy tipping elbow puts bums on pews and can make a significant difference when the collection plate is passed around.’
The Guide is famed for its flowing praise and occasional brutal honesty. For example, the entry for St. Winifred’s, Buckley, notes ‘Truly appalling wine which is sadly matched by the quality of the rather dull service,’ adding ‘If the merciful Lord were walking amongst us today, this is the wine that he would be turning back into water.’
The winning parish for 2011 is in the sleepy Yorkshire market town of Clipton. Visitors to the 14th Century church, dedicated to St. Barnabus, are treated to different wines according to the time of the service. The Guide describes their 8.00 am BCP communion wine as ‘a good session wine and well worth getting up for.’
But the most fulsome praise is reserved for their 11am Sung Eucharist wine: ‘A fiery blessing with contrasting hints of brimstone, damnation and eventual forgiveness that will bring you to your knees in thanksgiving. It reaches deep into the soul and refreshes the parts other religious tinctures cannot reach. Alleluia!’
The Guide’s winning entry concludes with praise for their hemp communion wafers which have been baked by St. Barnabus stalwart Lottie Smith for the last 25 years. ‘The perfect accompaniment,’ says the Guide, ‘which leaves you on a spiritual high for the rest of the day.’