On the night I had my first living wine, I had a dream or was it an encounter ? I saw a river, free flowing aa sunlight shone on the water revealing its blue green colour and purity.
“Kate, this is who I am, this is where I come from’. As I started to wake, feeling clear headed from drinking a wine without chemicals, I realised that through the symbolic language of dreams, the wine had been communicating with me.
My French friend who is both knowledgeable and passionate about wines, introduced me towards natural wine which is made not only without chemicals and savage mechanisation but also with such love and respect for the earth and its produce, that somehow the intent, character and devotion of the vigneron is infused through an almost mystical process with the wine.
Savouring is the first step in the act of cherishing; a meditation on the essence of something. The French have established a ritual around savouring a wine. First you place your nose in as far as it can feasibly go into the wine glass. This “First nose”” gives the first impression of the wine on the olfactory senses. Holding the wine up to the light gives an appreciation of its clothing or dress. An appreciation of colour, texture, density are added to the first smell to build a picture of the wine’s character. Next comes the second nose where new aromas and textures are noted after the wine has been swirled in the glass. Finally there is the taste which is a whole of mouth experience as you swish and swirl the wine around your mouth and teeth, finally drawing oxygen in through puckered lips to bring the wine more fully alive. When you savour the wine, you cherish the moment.
Have you ever tasted the petals of an ancient red Rose? Can you imagine what it feels like to imbibe it in liquid form, the aroma of this flower from ancient Persia infusing your palate before rolling down your throat? In my time in France I tasted wine that tasted of a King’s red velvet curtains which I had seen, touched and smelt earlier in the day at a nearby Chateau.
Like people, some wines take time to reveal themselves, while others display their essence at first meeting. The year of my birth was a challenging one for wine production even more so for the living wines which are especially responsive to the changes of climate. To me, it was a beautifully complex wine which at each savouring manifested different aspects of its character. But I am biased because my personality is just like the wine, full of passionate expression followed by a need to pull back into myself. This is the power of a living wine; once you have savoured the sacred creation its memory remains and resonates in your system, like the living thing it is and the living thing you are.