What’s more fitting than an opening blog asking the question, ‘why wine?’ Why such an interest, rather obsession with what is in essence fermented grape juice? It’s a valid question, to many, especially those who have only ever experienced wine of a certain level, there is understandable confusion over all the fuss.
I can only explain from a personal perspective. My appreciation of wine was non-existent before a honeymoon trip to Dubrovnik, Croatia back in 2012. I couldn’t tell you more than whether it was white or red, nor did I have any interest to. Yet in a bar called D’Vino, down a small side street, my wife and I decided to buy a wine tasting experience, three local whites, three local reds and a sommelier to guide. I’m not sure I can pinpoint why this experience had such a profound impact – perhaps the link between terroir (everything that influences vine growing and arguably winemaking) and the liquid in my glass. The fascination for the flavours, or even the ritual of exploring a wine. Whatever it was, my life hasn’t been the same since. I spent the rest of the honeymoon trying different local producers, returning home I attended tastings, read wine books and started building my own collection in a small bathroom cupboard I’d racked out with great pride. From there I studied, gained qualifications, tasted a lot and left my job to embark on a career in the wine trade, all for the love of wine.
Good and great wines offer so much because they take so much to create. From selecting the correct site to grow your vines, to tending to them in the plethora of possible ways dependent on the conditions of that particular vintage. Doing everything possible to allow place to speak in the glass. The subtle handprint of the producer guided by philosophy and heritage. Then there’s the experience in the glass, the changing complexity of aromas that evolve with time. The carefully woven textures magnified with certain food pairings. The moment in history when that bottle was crafted.
Wine brings people together, it’s for sharing, ever present as relationships are developed. Yet wine is still a mystery, how can fermented grape juice amount to so much? How can it speak so clearly of whence it came? The wine world is ever changing and therefore will never be fully experienced or understood, it is a journey and one well worth embarking on.