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So when did it happen for you, Wine Geekdom? When did you go from being someone who enjoyed drinking wine… and beer… and cocktails and really anything of the sort to a person who became completely captured by the world of wine? Last night I was talking to some wine friends and recall thinking to myself, while one of them was waxing lyrical about a certain bottle, that WOW, how weird is this? We’re all sitting about talking about grape juice like it was a Proust novel. This isn’t the first time this feeling hit me. Every now and again I catch myself talking about wine and thinking how crazy it is that such enthusiasm and passion can be spurred by the juice of pressed grapes. When did I become captured by the romance of wine? When did it stop being about the points and the prices and become something else entirely?
My ex-partners father was a real Burgundy fan. A creature I hadn’t encountered before, he went to Burgundy, visited the vineyards, talked about the first growths, the cru’s, how moved he was by the earth, the land, the techniques and the wines themselves. I’ve never met someone like this before and my immediate reaction was a raised eyebrow and a high pitched “hokay then”. He had a story about every bottle he proudly showed me in his cellar. The man was in his element. Wine stirred in him something so personal that this normally matter of fact man became a poet of the most romantic kind. He introduced me to a bottle of wine, he talked about it with such enthusiasm that it would have been impossible to dislike it. That wine, my seminal wine moment, was a bottle of 2003 Morgon cru Beaujolais.
I don’t remember the producer. I remember that I enjoyed the wine so much, and was so pumped up by his enthusiasm that it started me on the road to where I am today. I read up about the 2003 vintage, about Morgon and about Beaujolais. It wasn’t too long before I learnt that my seminal wine, a Beaujolais, is something unenlightened wine snobs would guffaw at, and HARD! I don’t care. Morgon cru Beaujolais is etched onto my heart and has led me all the way to this point, in Italian wines no less! I didn’t make a tasting note, I wouldn’t have known how to. He had. He had details of the wine, the best drinking age, how much he paid for it, his personal experience of each bottle kept next to all his wines. A good practice.
Next month, after all my travels around Europe and especially Italy I move back to London. To celebrate I ordered some wines from BBR and within that case, of course, is Morgon cru Beaujolais, I revisit this wine regularly to pay a kind of homage to where it all began and if that aint Wine Geekdom, gals and pals, I’m not sure what is.
Of course when we talk about wine, we are talking about the liquid we have in front of us, but we’re also talking about the blood sweat and tears of the producer, what was going on that year at the vineyard, the country in which the wine is grown. Those with a love for Italian wines, more often than not, also have a passion for all things Italian. My seminal wine friend is a massive Francophile and this helps the attachment grow. Is it a coincidence that I studied Roman Archaeology, that I support Ferrari and follow the calcio? A love for the land should lead naturally for a love for that which comes from it? Wine is romantic. It captures the senses and the imagination like nothing else. I have suffered heartbreak over wine, truly. Opening a bottle I’ve been saving for years to find that it is corked, or cooked, this can break my day! I can not imagine how it feels for wine producers, I could never do their job. Work all year to perfect the ripeness of your grapes, only for a hailstorm to ruin your crops a few weeks before harvest. Oh well, no wine this year! Did Fiorentina beat Lazio?
As a critic or a buyer, you leave your bias at the door, Francophile, Italophile, whatever. As a consumer I spend from the heart.
*stands up* My name is Sarah Newton, I’m 28 years old and I’m a wine geek.
The first step to recovery is admitting it after all.
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No reviews today but I would love to hear about your seminal wine moment, the wine, the person or experience that turned you from a person who drinks wine into a “wine geek”.