It is often said that solitary drinking, and that includes wine, is a bad sign. For sure, sociability and exchanges of all kinds are very much a part of hedonistic drinking of alcoholic beverages, and this particularly so in the case of wine. Nonetheless, I am not adverse, on occasion, to sipping a glass of a fine wine just to be able to concentrate on my sensations and the messages that this wine is sending me. This almost meditative activity can also be accompanied by music or a good book.
Wine simply cannot be consumed by itself. It requires a number of tools not only to make its consumption physically possible.
But on a very basic and essential level, quite apart from any moralistic tendency, wine simply cannot be consumed by itself. It requires a number of tools not only to make its consumption physically possible, but also to enhance the pleasure that one’s meeting with this nectar hopefully produces: to start with, a corkscrew and a glass! Of course one can increasingly find bottles closed with a screwcap, which makes life much easier, or even resort to the technique used by kings of the road and which consists of slotting the bottle into one’s shoe and banging this against a strong wall until the repeated jolts generate sufficient pressure to expel the cork from the bottle neck. But this is not to be considered in normal circumstances and so one definitely needs a decent corkscrew.
A glass is an even more essential tool, unless of course one resorts to drinking directly from the bottle, which places one firmly amongst those who use the aforementioned technique for removing corks. And not just any glass either if the idea is to enhance the pleasure given by wine. A simple tumbler or bowl-shaped wine glass made of thick glass will not do the trick. Wine glassware should be fine, elegant and of the right size and shape, not only to prepare you for the experience, but also to release then capture aromas and flavours and direct them to your nose and palate.
So much for the basics, but that is far from the end of the story, since dealing with wine is not just about drinking one bottle and the pleasure of a single person. One also has to think a little further ahead and take into consideration several people’s tastes and preferences. This means logistical and physical considerations such as storage, service temperatures and so on. So cellaring facilities, large or small, stock management, decanters, books from which to learn, and so on…
Language is often a useful indicator of reality. A relevant example is the way we invite someone to ” have a glass of wine?”. The words “glass” and “wine” seem inseparable and we certainly do not say “will you have a wine?”. So, for sure, wine cannot be drunk just by itself, it needs tools to express itself and to give you pleasure.
This blog exists to discuss the many points of interaction between the wine lover, wine and the tools that help one to appreciate wine. It will deal with impressions, provide advice and ideas, and pass on our experiences, both single and shared.
David Cobbold, great connoisseur of world wines.
He has written numerous books with Sébastien Durand-Viel – Editions “L’Atelier du Vin”