- Published: 14 December 2009 14 December 2009
The World Wine Tasting Corps embody a surreal mysticism based around
being able to extract profound descriptive words with which to hang the
evidence of their pleasure. It is an odd cultish thing. It is
something that when viewed from an external perspective, the
non-initiate views with certain amusement. Yet, there is an allure to
all this lyrical waxing. I know this because I know how much people
pay to take part in tutored tastings. Good wine tasting is indeed very
much fun and also very rewarding. To be able to take a big sniff and
say "Yeah, merlot driven right bank!" gives one a sense of knowing ones
taste buds. I like it!
But at what point do we cross the line? For me it can be in a tasting when the stem holding maniac starts to swirl, eye looming vertically down into the grape juice looking for hints of divinity. Words are also swirling in the brain, "... not too opaque... ruby... grassy... urine... straw..." and so on. The colour of the wine can tell us certain things about the wine. In most cases one has the bottle close to hand so more information can be gleaned from that. In terms of enhancing pleasure, do these strange rituals and pronounced postulations create cerebral ecstasy?
It's been proven that the cost of a bottle (real or perceived) can certainly enhance our pleasure in the drinking process. Many people drink slower, savouring the experience. I tend to accelerate my pace puckering and wincing my way to the end. I seldom analyse the wine, listing out descriptive comparisons to fruit, veg and baby puke. Sometimes, a flavour can be so pronounced it would be churlish not to say it but I wonder why people spend so much time analysing what is in the glass rather than appreciating the enhanced pleasure at that particular moment?
I've only been thinking about this since buying some shampoo that smells lovely to me. I was sniffing it in and having a good rinse thinking how it smelt like wonderful Gewurtztraminer, when I was struck by seeming illegality of describing something as a wine. Surely we are cast with the task of finding descriptives for wine, not vice versa? Any how, as much as I started conjuring up mental images of lychees and what not, nothing quite gave me as much pleasure as thinking that I had wonderful fine white wine running through my hair and scenting my body.
Now then, back to the tasting....
An aperitif by the coliseum
As COVID-19 conspires with the grimmest of winds and rain to force a societal retreat behind our own front doors, the word ennui springs to mind. The muddle of displeasure is pierced when Natalia hands me a large bulbous glass of a liquid I do not recognise.
Artichoke pasta and very fine Pigato
Britain’s lamentable exit
On the eve of Britain’s official departure from the EU, my partner and I decided to explore a small town on the Italian Riviera where thewintry cold doesn’t feel so much like cold war bite.
I had warned my significant other that I would be having an inverse departure party, a release of the sanity valve if you like!
Soave: volcanic wines with elegance and longevity
Sitting inside the ancient castle walls inside the town of Soave, a short drive from Verona in northern Italy, the unique slightly almond aroma of the indigenous grape, Garganega, rises gently from my glass. The castle sprawls up the side of an extinct volcano that gives the region its variant soil structures that mark out the better quality of Soave wines.
An American In Paris; Tanisha Townsend (@GirlMeetsGlass) discusses podcasts, Paris wine bars, & what she's drinking at the moment
Tanisha Townsend decided to move to Paris 4 years ago after regularly passing through the city en route to the world’s most famous vineyards. In fact, it was about 2 years ago at the Printemps de Champagne Bouzy Rouge tasting in Reims that I saw (who we shall now refer to as) GirlMeetsGlass chirpily speaking to her web followers on Snapchat.
Wine tasting in Galicia: The pilgrims search for Albarino
The cathedral in Santiago de Compostela, the final resting place of Saint James, rises out of the landscape, infested with antiquity. The rambling steep streets give way to shafts of dramatic light, emblazoned chapels, and tightly packed tapas bars, dusty, as old novels pressed together in antiquarian bookshops.
Interview: (Re)Defining the Entre-Deux-Mers, climate change & tasting with Stephane Dupuch
Driving into the Entre-Deux-Mers region from the north, the vineyards roll out like a bright green deep-pile carpet across the undulating land. It’s hard not to be excited about tasting wines with so much heritage, as we head to Chateau-Sainte-Marie to meet with 5th generation owner, Stéphane Dupuch.