The Joy of Wine

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - December 01, 2006
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During the holidays I think everyone is really trying to sell you something - and I mean everyone!

Everywhere I look there is a “sale” you can’t miss, “one-day-only” deals, and marketing like you can’t believe. Every periodical and magazine seems to swell in size because of the advertisements and sales pitches thrown at you.

So what are you really looking for?

No, I don’t mean an item or something bought off a shelf. What do those things bring to you? Is it happiness, satisfaction, ease or luxury?

The thing I look forward to most of all is joy! And I find lots of it in and around wine.

Wine itself can bring you joy - not in drinking lots of it so you get so blasted that you forget your problems. There’s another name for that.

I mean enjoying a great bottle of wine is in itself a hedonistic, joyous pleasure. Whether you like the finesse-full, elegant type of wine or the bombastic, fruit-laden, rich and thick ones, or the bubbly, buoyant mineral elegance of Champagne, or the earth-driven, story-in-a-bottle-wine-that-can-only-come-from-one-place-on-earth wines. Or if you like the steely dryness, or the thick, unctuous, luxurious sweetness of whites, and even the palate-stopping power of jam and alcohol - there is joy to be found for you in some bottle of wine out there.

There is also the joy, for some, in points. I see people’s eyes light up when they can say that this wine got 100 points from such and such. Or people get much joy from saying there were only 100 cases of this wine produced and now we’re drinking it. Rarity and privilege in combination can certainly bring joy in some way.

There is always just as much joy of having held a wine for a long time and opening it at just the right moment. Maybe it’s a birthday of your best friend, your wedding or business anniversary, or even your sister’s or son’s wedding.

There is the joy of opening a bottle exactly when it is “ready” or at its peak, or for just the right people who truly appreciate it just as much as you or even more.

Beyond just the physical there is the emotional. I am always with friends or family when I have wine. I don’t drink alone. These are the people I love and the ones I love to treat to great wines. They make me smile with just a look; make me laugh until I cry or my sides hurt. Quite often this all happens while we are sharing great wine or reminiscing about other great bottles, travels and meals we have shared. They are also the people who bring me the most joy to hear them say “Oh wow, that’s good,” or “What is this, and where can I get some?” And “That’s Burgundy!” Not only does the wine bring me joy, but the experience of having it with them brings me joy.

It is wonderful to treat people to great wines. It “turns them on,” and sometimes they even feel blessed. And some of that blessing bounces back onto me in the form of joy.

So this holiday season, for the same reasons you string the lights around your house, on the wall or on the hedge, or put that sleigh and reindeer or Nativity display on your lawn or garage for the world to see, for the same feeling that is shared throughout the world during this wondrous season - for joy - open a bottle of your favorite wine and share the joy that is awaiting you inside it with all those with whom you surround yourself.


Two wines that bring me joy: MV Krug Grande Cuvee ($140) Call me a “Krugist” if you like, but it is truly complex, regal, intense and classy. It makes me feel like a king.

2003 Lucien Boillot Volnay “Les Angles” ($45) Its decadent fruit and silky texture show everything that is right with Pinot Noir from Burgundy. It is as good as other Burgundies at double its price.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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