Ivresse vin

Wine tasting, Emotion & Drunkness

Mood post about wine tasting, emotion and drunkness …

Dégustation vin

“It’s like sex, the purpose is pleasure, we don’t judge the practices…”

– The relativity of the emotion of a wine –

Whether you drink a supermarket wine in a mustard glass, a rosé filtered on charcoal with two ice cubes next to a swimming pool, a great Burgundy in a Zalto glass, or a Côtes du Rhône with your family, the important is emotion. In this field, there is no hierarchy. It’s like sex, the purpose is pleasure, we don’t judge the practices. And by being a little curious, you might be surprised at what you like …

Any wine professional will say that every wine just needs to be drunk under the right conditions. He will insist on “right conditions”, because any wine professional has a trauma linked to his beginnings in the profession. That of having saved up money to share an exceptional bottle with his neophyte friends. Overflowing with passion, he hoped to share a moment of grace with them, even to secretly evangelize them. The reality was harsh to see these savages siphoning the bottle between two discussions on politics. He felt soiled. Worse, that they did not respect the holy trinity of wine, vineyard and winegrower. Offended, he himself could not appreciate the wine at its fair value, mulling over the price of the bottle … Then resigned to the idea that great wines must be drunk by people of good taste, the next dinner, there was woody Bordeaux on the table … The legitimate question is to know if we can drink a great bottle in any condition and with anyone? The answer probably depends of your wallet …

“The dominant Anglo-Saxon approach tends towards a more analytical, ‘objective’ tasting, and let’s say rather boring. While France is attached to a more romantic side, describing the wine as if it is a friend.”

– How to taste a wine? –

The only assumption that seems to escape the relativism of emotions and of its bank account is that to understand a wine, you have to drink it with a particular intention, be ready to welcome it. And the art of tasting, as it is taught in sommellerie schools, is a good way to analyze a wine by steps (Eye, 1st nose, 2nd nose, on the palate, 3rd nose). When you start, a wine contains so much information that if you do not follow a framed roadmap, you can quickly find yourself overwhelmed. Organizing your sensations, understanding where the balance comes from (or not), rough up the aromas in order to then perceive the most subtle ones… is necessary to refine your tasting capacity. But if it is an essential basis, it is necessary to know how to go beyond it.

Of course, the culture of origin influences the perception of taste and the way of tasting. The dominant Anglo-Saxon approach tends towards a more analytical, ‘objective’ tasting, and let’s say rather boring. While France is attached to a more romantic side, describing the wine as if it is a friend. An Englishman will say of a wine that it has “acidity ++”, a Frenchman that it is “nervous”. But on both sides, tasting, as it is taught, remains superficial, forgetting the essence of the wine.
We do not drink a Chardonnay from Julien Labet to analyze it but for the emotions, its energy, and especially its drunkenness. Analysis is only a tool, not a finality. We do not contemplate a painting of great master for the balance of forms, the harmony of colors, but because it stirs us something in the gut …
Is it out of modesty, or out of fear since the Evin law made wine the cause of alcoholism in France, that professionals dare not pronounce the words pleasure, energy and drunkenness? Perhaps because these criteria are subjective and we try to analyze in all neutrality a personal relationship between himself, the wine and the context? Or because so-called “conventional” wines would sell for less?

The most difficult exercise when you want to understand a wine is that frist, you have to adopt a candid posture. To be like the first man to drink fermented grapes, free from any prejudices that could influence your perception. Unconsciously, if he tastes a Sauvignon, the expert will empirically look for aromas of boxwood, blackcurrant, citrus. This is a bias that should not be overlooked. Getting rid of your prejudices allows you to honestly probe the soul of the wine, to grasp its essence, and not to interpret what it is supposed to be.
Then, before analyzing it in several steps, you should take a sip without thinking. Don’t intellectualize the first contact. Simply be in the feeling, instinctively ask the question if this wine pleases you, if you want to drink it again, if your chest suits it. This already says a lot about wine …
Then comes the analysis (Eye, 1st nose, 2nd nose, on the palate, 3rd nose), determining the aromas, the balance of flavors, the substance, the length in the mouth, etc. We deduce, with reason, the complexity of a wine and its profile. Wine-tasting professionals say you don’t have to drink a wine to analyze it. Indeed, inhaling it and carrying it in the mouth is enough to sketch its portrait. It’s scientific, the taste buds on the tongue perceive the flavors, and the nose the aromas. But does a wine boil down to this? What about the energy and its drunkenness?

– The energy of wine –

If the energy of a wine can now be scientifically proven (see our article: Olivier Salières, the man who measured the energy in wine), the most skeptical can no longer sweep this dimension. Yes … like all living things on earth, wine has an energetic vibration. Difficult to describe, it is neither an aroma nor a flavor, the energy is a feeling, an impression of purity, of concentrated life flowing down the throat. The difference between a lively and conventional wine (or an urban wines) is the same as with a tomato from the supermarket and one picked from your garden. It is almost not the same product … And the balance, the complexity of a wine is nothing if there is not this extra thing, this vibrating breath of life in our body. Empirically, I would say that to capture this energy, for its vibration to strike our cells, we have to drink it, welcome it, not just carry it in the mouth. It is once the throat is crossed that our body becomes an energy receptor. And from this alchemy emanates drunkenness …

“Drunkenness is what has made wine, since the first civilizations, a noble drink linked to the Gods …”

– The drunkness of wine –

The drunkenness of wine is not “intoxication produced by alcohol and causing disturbances in nervous adaptation and motor coordination” but “a state of elation”. We do not know drunkenness by drinking without moderation but by tasting a living wine with a particular intention. It is to drink less but better.
We can feel it with wine, but also tea, poetry, football … In short, in everything that makes us vibrate. Drunkenness is what connects the invisible to the visible, matter to the mind. A phenomenon that cannot be reduced to a scientific explanation. The drunkenness of a poem can be analyzed by a mathematical combination of words or by the release of dopamine in the brain. But it’s much more than that. It’s an intangible thing.
Like the vine drawing water with its roots and capturing the energy of the sun with its leaves, drunkenness is something that touches us viscerally, but also universally. It is sharing with the world a feeling that moves us deeply. It is the link between body and mind, our inner self and the universe. Drunkenness is what has made wine, since the first civilizations, a noble drink linked to the Gods …