Tasting my way through a trough of prestige wines yesterday, I realized that taking an interest from hobby to work has both upsides and drawbacks. On the one hand, there I was, with a bottle of Cristal in one hand, and a bottle of André Clouets top bottling 1911 in the other. On the flip side, I was on my 10th champagne, and I had not stopped to enjoy a single one of them. I had to take thorough notes. I had to spit. And adding to the stress, there were three other tables full of Dr Loosen, The Ridge, and Gaja waiting for me and only an hour to go. I know I’m lucky, blessed even, to have the resources and guts to leave a stable income and established career behind in order to pursue something I hardly know how to make money off, just because I love it. But no doubt about it, it is still work. Meeting passionate wine-makers and experiencing the cultures of the wine-making regions are my drivers more than maybe even the wine itself. Finding an exceptional bottle that sings to me, that makes me feel like I have unearthed a secret, that creates bonding with strangers or deeper bonds with friends is wonderful, fantastic, divine. However, most of the wines I taste are just wines, just a product to analyze and categorize, decide if the quality is worth the price and what foods would do well with it. I have reduced how much I drink outside of work because the wines in most bars and restaurants are overpriced and sub par, and because I have become more aware of my habits when alcohol is available all day every day.
So as not to forget what made wine such a passion for me in the first place, I have to remind myself to take a break from the study of wine at regular intervals and just let it intoxicate me (I’m not referring to the alcohol here). Invite someone over to share one of those bottles that I drag home from around the world – my sister, a friend, a new acquaintance. Because when it comes down to it, shared pleasure is double pleasure, and a shared bottle is… well… an excuse to open more than one?