From Selection to Sip - My Adventures with Wine Tasting
It started as me just wanting the excuse to drink wine while using a few professional words to sound like I knew what I was talking about. An online wine course, a textbook and several Instagram live tastings later and I’m beginning to immerse myself in the world of wine. There’s no time like the present lockdown to learn something new and get fulfilment from expanding your knowledge horizons in your PJs!
A glass of wine is so much more than just an alcoholic drink. It’s an expression of its roots; of the land, the climate and the local winemaking traditions, it’s something to be discussed, described and discovered, either individually or with others.
I went to university in this country, twice, so it goes without saying that alcohol in any form was for many years appreciated as much for its inebriating effects as for its taste. And unless it was a celebratory champagne, my idea of a good bottle of wine was anything over £6. However, the cost structure of a bottle of wine in the UK made me rethink; the base cost of logistics, packaging and import remains the same meaning that the more expensive the bottle is, the more money proportionally goes on the wine itself. So, while a £20 bottle may be four times the price of a £5 bottle, the money you’re spending on the wine itself is thirteen times more.
I’ve also come around to the idea of slow, meaningful wine drinking. When you make your selection thoughtfully, it leads to a mindful consumption too. Choosing a satisfyingly shaped glass, taking time to appreciate the wine’s colour and intensity. Trying to identify the aromas - any fruits, spices or ingredients, taking into consideration the grape itself and where it was grown. And in tasting, discovering how the character of the grape, the soil of the land and the air that fed the vine have come together. Each sip tells of the origins and journey the grape has taken from ground to glass.
What I particularly enjoy about wine tasting is that it’s a multi-sensory experience; sight, smell, touch and taste are all part of the process. You may have just discovered your new favourite wine or one to permanently avoid. Either way, you’ve taken the time and focused your energy on making the most of the journey. And from there you’re entitled to sip and savour or knock back as you wish!
As you can see much of my wine discovery has been alongside sunbathing - the perfect combo as far as I'm concerned!
I've been following a great online course called World of Wine: from Grape to Glass with edX who host courses from universities and institutions all over the world. This course comes via the University of Adelaide and gives insight into the practicalities and processes of winemaking.
Connecting with my local independent wine shop, Symposium, has meant I've been able to support a local business whilst also having a new wine delivered to my door each week.