The pursuit of pleasure through wine
Pleasure through wine – I have something to confess in this column. I am a hedonist. For me, the purpose of life is to pursuit pleasure and self indulgence. My two main areas of pleasure in life come through wine and food. There is nothing that gets me going more than to have an amazing home cooked meal with a great bottle of wine. Generally, I daydream quite a bit during the day about a composition of a specific meal paired with a certain bottle of wine. Sometimes, my personal approach with regards to wine put me at odds with regards to my role as a wine critic/blogger.
After some years in this field, I find that In general wine writers spent way too much time tasting wine rather than drinking it. You will never fully understand a wine by taking just a few quick sips and spitting it out. It is like the analogy of going on a first date with a person. Can we really know someone by spending a certain definitive time with them?. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not against wine tasting. When time is limited, they are great to provide a picture of a region , specific estate or the variations of a specific grape in different climates. The danger occurs when you overdo it because then you kill the romantic aspect of wine drinking.
A while ago, somebody told me that the true way to know a wine is by drinking the whole bottle. This activity could be described as a very intimate moment like lovemaking or sharing a secret with your best friend or your lover. If you have an inquisitive mind, the act of drinking wine could raise many important questions such as what happened during year, the history of the producer or the cultural traditions of the wine. For many wine lovers including myself, all these questions give a sense of satisfaction or pleasure. This line of thought reminds me of the dialogue about the life of wine between the characters Maya and Miles Raymond in the movie Sideways 2004. Here is an excerpt:
Maya: No, I- I like to think about the life of wine.
Miles Raymond: Yeah.
Maya: How it’s a living thing. I like to think about what was going on the year the grapes were growing; how the sun was shining; if it rained. I like to think about all the people who tended and picked the grapes. And if it’s an old wine, how many of them must be dead by now. I like how wine continues to evolve, like if I opened a bottle of wine today it would taste different than if I’d opened it on any other day, because a bottle of wine is actually alive. And it’s constantly evolving and gaining complexity. That is, until it peaks, like your ’61. And then it begins its steady, inevitable decline.
Miles Raymond: Hmm.
Maya: And it tastes so f***ing good.
If you ever watched the movie, you will find that this is a powerful scene. It is very intimate almost erotic in a certain way. The intimacy that I enjoy when I drink a wine bottle is my great source of pleasure and satisfaction.
It is important to note that indulgence in wine drinking could lead to excess. For me excess is just when it affects negatively your entourage or physical safety ( driving under the influence). It is for the wine drinker to decide when is too much. The threshold should be at the point when too much wine drinking turns out into a painful experience.
Finally, I will leave you with this wonderful quote on the article “Excess” written by Professor Tim Crane published in The World of Fine wine magazine in Issue 4.
“Excess, or the tendency towards excess, has cohabited with the drinking of the finest wine throughout history. We find something similar in the relationship between great art and eroticism. The art historian Charles Hope has argued that we cannot ignore the erotic needs that inspired some of Titian’s greatest paintings: they were painted in part for their ability to arouse and stimulate. Similarly, to understand properly the meaning of wine, we should not ignore its intoxicating qualities and its tendency to give rise to excessive behavior. The important thing is to understand the place of excess in our wine drinking, not to dismiss it.”
Wines of Pleasure:
Ijalba Genoli 2017 ( Rioja, Spain) SAQ # 00883033 $14.30
This Spanish white wine made from the Viura variety and has a very fine nose recalling green apple, peach with soft undertones of Thai basil and white roses. On the mouth, refreshing, round and delicate not compromising its firm structure. Very long with a mango and lychee sorbet aftertaste. One of the best vintages of genoli tasted so far. Food Pairings: Seafood pastas or fish brochettes in the BBQ.
Domaine Des Huards Pure Cheverny 2016
( Loire Valley, France) SAQ # 961607 $23.25
A delicious blend of (85%) Sauvignon Blanc and (15%) Chardonnay from the Cheverny appellation in the Loire Valley. This wine has a delightful nose that brings to mind Jazmin, white pepper and rosemary leaf. On the palate, medium to full body with flavors bringing to mind white orchard fruit with a beautiful minerality in the finale. Food Pairings: Fish tacos, Spicy Thai Scallops.
Mirabeau Rosé Classique 2017 ( Provence, France)
SAQ Depot # 13206121 $19.00
This rosé from Provence displays very fragrant aromas of field berries with soft touches of lavender and violet essence. Round and fresh with perfect spicy flavors on the mid palate, subdued acidity and a orange citrus strawberry finale. Food Pairings: Salmon Croquettes.
Domaine Ruet Morgon Les Grands Cras 2016 ( Morgon, France)
Delicious Morgon with bright fruit notes and sensual peppery notes. Fresh, round and quite digest with very attractive polished tannins and a very enticing floral finale bringing to mind dry violet and rose petals. A very charming wine. Food Pairings: Pastas with meat sauce