Rediscovering the romanticism of tasting fine wine
‘Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.’ – Plautus
When you’re tasting wine professionally you sometimes find that it loses the very thing that makes it special. Wine is all about how it really makes you feel, in that moment. Throughout history it’s a moment that has been described as everything from heavenly and romantic to icky or deliriously drunk – and it’s the full spectrum, the eclectic mix of varying reactions to this wonderful grape, that makes wine so interesting.
I had been feeling a little down about wine recently. I knew that because I shrugged off a frankly excellent full-bodied red from Cahors without writing so much as the name of the wine never mind a tasting note.
But over my birthday weekend just passed, I rediscovered the beautiful experience of wine tasting. Relaxed and out of my professional element, I gave two bottles of Romanian red a try. Both were very reasonably priced at around £7.49 and, as is the nature with a lot of Eastern European wines in the UK, both brands I’d never heard of.
— Ben Franks #Wine (@BenFranksWine) April 4, 2016
Sitting down with my parents we opened the first, a 2014 Pinot Noir made by Paris Street, alongside a plate of Serrano hams, chorizo and cream cheese and crackers. It was packed with summer fruits and unbelievable quaffable. If I hadn’t had a glass of chilled grape juice earlier that afternoon I might have mistaken this Pinot Noir for grape juice. Yet sitting there, snacking on a few meats and cheese, catching up with my parents who I haven’t seen for a while, I grew to love it.
Not nearly as much as the second wine we tried. A blackcurrant-oozing young Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz also from Romania from Luci Lorena. My golly was this a pleasure to drink alongside the hams. A medium bodied expression of the grapes that, while undoubtedly jammy, was playful and smooth. I am not shy to admit we polished off the entire bottle.
I suppose the thing to take from all of this is that no matter what the wine, it’s always about how you enjoy it (assuming you like wine in the first place). So here’s to a glass or two with friends, family and at your favourite watering hole.
I’ll drink to that.
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