WE’VE ALL done it: been on holiday, great scenery, fabulous time, lovely wine. In fact we’ve liked it so much we’ve brought a couple of bottles back.
But when we opened them on a damp November night in England somehow the magic had evaporated out of the bottle.
Enjoying wine, even more than food, is a subjective experience. It’s not just the aroma which filters up your nose or the taste as it sparkles on your tongue but the atmosphere, the company, the occasion, your mood at the time and, possibly, whether that ankle you twisted is still hurting.
And if you are in attractive surroundings, beside an Italian lake, say, or on a Mediterranean shore, then you are also drinking the view. And you don’t get that in a bottle.
We’ve just been to Croatia. Above is a view of Korcula, seen through a glass of the local white wine. And pretty good it was, too. For a minute or two I was tempted to take home a bottle.
But it just wouldn’t have been the same. Best to stick with the memory.
A few years ago we were walking in the south of France and stopped at a little corner restaurant for lunch. It was lovely, especially the wine, a local one so obscure I’ve forgotten its name.
We forgot to bring back a bottle or two but wanted to recapture the moment. We raved about it to friends and family and eventually managed to track it down.
I popped the cork, poured the wine and . . . disappointment. It tasted so dull.
Some time later I came across some published tasting notes along the lines of ” Bland, local workaday quaff . . . “
That was probably true. But when our glasses were poured that day in France it wasn’t just wine that went in. You can call it what you will – atmosphere, ambience, le terroir, something so hard to pin down but it dances on our memory’s tastebuds even now.