I read so many stories about or involving wine... and beer, cider, gin, hard seltzers... but rarely do I read a piece that says "I love this... and I think you'd love it too".
I am reading a book right now from Gerard Basset. Gerard is like a demi-god but he might not be that well-known beyond the world of wine lovers. Born a Frenchman in the late 50s from a loveless marriage, he went on to become British, and the most acclaimed wine person in the world. Master Sommelier, Best Sommelier in the world, Master of Wine, owner and operator of a wine- and gastronomy-led hotel group... I mean the guy's career is the stuff of legend. Sadly he passed away - stupid cancer - in January 2019. I'm tackling the last few chapters of his timely autobiography "Tasting Victory" and nowhere have I read something that says "I love wine". It is obviously implied that he must have enjoyed it because he put an insane amount of work to obtain these accolades but still.
So why do we love wine? Why is it that some wines are a commodity to be traded, to invest in? Why do some bottles cost more than my house? What is the magic that sends some of us crazy with lust for the fermented grape juice?
One world: Taste.
That's right. A decent wine makes for a nice drink but other liquids will achieve the same. A good, seriously good wine though... it does something to you. It tickles the pleasure spots in your brain, makes you go "hmmm" while closing your eyes and swallows you in a vortex of sensations that go way beyond the physiological process of tasting flavours. It leaves a mark, in your memory, in your body. It's like putting a pin on the board of your life. A good bottle of wine, you will remember it and the events that took place around it. Like a welcome checkpoint in a game of Sonic the Hedgehog. A good wine is fucking tasty and is memorable. The opposite can also be true: a great moment of your life that happens to take place while a bottle of wine is enjoyed, can make the wine really good and memorable: Your wedding, your friend's wedding, even a happy funeral. Whoever turns up at mine, please have some fucking Champagne and be happy!
And really, at the end of the day, that's all there is to it.
Now how this good wine became and arrived to you, that can be a story worth telling and this story can be pleasurable for many reasons. It appeals to our intellect, to our desire to understand our experience and the world around us. And having an understanding of how that wine was made and probably more so, who made it helps us connect with it even more and appreciate it's more subtle notes... just like music. The little kick of drum you would never have heard, the slight wavering pitch of the voice that makes it so real. Ultimately, and if there is one thing to remember here, when a good wine passes your lips, you know it and you will remember it. You will seek this sensation again and again.