Monday, October 8, 2012

slow down and smell the varietal

It was a picture perfect autumnal afternoon driving through the softly curving backroads of the Cowichan Valley, and at every sign lauding 'wine tasting' I wanted to slow and turn in. No, I am not a wino - at least not to that extent. And many if not most of these wineries I've not even heard of. And yet, the car pulled toward the driveway over and again. For today, I continued home, knowing they are there when I have more time. 

This has been a summer of wine tastings. Our extended summer road trip through the Kootenays and south Okanagan found me swirling and sniffing many a 1 oz. sample. There were hits and misses. Sometimes we ended up buying a wine we hadn't even tasted. Sometimes nothing struck our fancy and we just enjoyed the view. 

There's an air to a vineyard. Not quite a pretension, in most cases, but a quietude. Like an outdoor library or a secular cathedral. It's a quietude I seek and seldom find in every day life outside of a yoga class. And maybe not even there. 

Wine tasting, when done with calm intention and focus, is a sensory meditation. The smooth cool glass in hand. The swirl. The sniff. The lilt of the wine on the tongue. The concentration as I continue to try to develop a sensitive palate. I have started to differentiate under-tones and after-tastes. I've started to learn why I like what I like, and to be able to articulate it. 

I've become less willing to try just anything and more willing to speak up, to ask for a different version of this or to skip entirely over that. I'm slowly, oh so slowly, learning to overlook the marketing and to look at what's in the bottle instead of the label on it. 

I may never be a true wine aficionado - I haven't the patience or the budget. But I will continue to seek those quiet moments that wine tasting brings. And maybe someday to find ways to experience those moments in my every day life. 

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