"It should be good...its a Chateau Margaux" my father excitedly and briskly informed me.
I was 16, and my Dad was pouring a red wine from a decanter into our glasses as we sat down to a plentiful home cooked Sunday lunch (thank you Mum!).
It wasn't my first taste of wine, but it was the first occasion that my Dad had shared a somewhat serious wine with me. I hadn't the foggiest idea where Chateau Margaux was (other than in France), or why it should have been a good wine. There were so many questions bound up in those two enquiries, and in time I would come to gain an understanding of my dad's statement, but at that point the answers really didn't matter.
What did matter then and continues to matter to this day, is the sharing and coming together. The exchange of ideas and creation of a shared experience which exists only in that moment. Wine can define a meal, even where it is not noticed and I would say the power of a wine can is all the more strikingly when it is not the protagonist of an occasion.
As for the wine my dad generously poured into my glass, it was truly captivating. Its exuberance and freshness made my palate sing, and its velvety texture utterly seduced me. The first sip of that Chateau Margaux 1988 has stayed with me. The beautiful notes of blackcurrant muddled with leather, take me back to my parents' dining room, the smell of roast beef, gravy and fresh prickly aromas of horseradish wafting up from my plate; and the hum of a family settling down to a meal together.
Yes, wine has many components that we can dissect, evaluate and debate - generally with great passion and enjoyment. I have continued to explore styles of wines, varietals of grapes and love trying something off the beaten track. This I must confess is a lifelong pursuit of love that will endure. I ask only that you come with me and see what we can share and learn together.