A while ago, Bob was given a special bottle of wine by way of thanks for something. We kept waiting for the perfect opportunity to drink it, but as nothing perfect ever presented itself, he finally decided that we should stop being so fussy and just drink it to celebrate a warm spring evening and the flowering of our new clematis plants.
I’m always nervous when given the chance to drink valuable wine. I feel I might be ‘tone-deaf’ when it comes to appreciating its finer qualities. Often I wonder if I can tell the difference between a good and a superb wine. I do my best, but often I secretly think that the price of expensive wine is more to do with history, culture, snobbery and ‘the collectors’ market’ than it is to do with the actual taste and drinking experience. We opened the wine very carefully. It had a wonderful ‘stony’ smell, that cold smell of old wine vaults in French chateaux. Its colour was almost russet. We took a glass outside to sit in the dusk and sip it. It was deep and robust, almost earthy. A lovely wine, and a pleasure to have it in our house, but I kept wondering whether a wine expert would have got much more out of it than I did. Would they have closed their eyes in bliss, hearing whispers I couldn’t hear? I guess there are people who feel like that when they go to concerts.