I’m sorry, but I need to take a moment to skite about my job. I mean – in what other profession are you going to convince a wine-maker to come over for home-cooked meatballs and talk about wine?This is my idea of awesome.
On Friday we had Diana Genders over for tea. She’s a bit of a personal hero of mine. Her passion for her wine is contagious. Diana thinks that people who only ‘like’ or ‘dislike’ wine are missing out on most of the fun (Gina, are you reading this?). Here’s why:
Some time over the course of evolution (says Diana), we decided that our sense of smell was inferior to our other senses. We let it degenerate into something benign and useless. We stopped paying attention.
Our language evolved to have a gazillion different words to describe how things look, feel, and sound like – but nothing for smell. And not much for taste.
I might tell you that something smells ‘fruity’, or ‘sharp’ for example. But what does that mean? It’s so broad! So inadequate. A lemon and a banana smell nothing alike. What we’re left with, is describing smell by reference to other smells.
This is where it gets fun.
As we’re sat there in our kitchen, with our noses planted firmly in our glasses, Diana prompts us for our thoughts.
“It’s a hot summer day and your grandmother is turning her glut of peaches into a warm and sticky jam. Can you smell that? You’ve just come home from the pool with a bag of mixed lollies. You’ve already scoffed the liquorice and are about to pop the mint leaf in your mouth. Outside the window – the living room window, not the kitchen where you’re stanidng – there’s a lavender bush..”
And on she goes, ‘painting’ a smell for us while we sniff and nod and agree and laugh with the sheer correctness of it all. She is so right! We can smell it all, right there in the glass. The mustiness of Granny. The jam, the aniseed, the mint – even the chlorine. It’s all there.
We drink Diana’s Genders Chardonnay, her Keith Shiraz, her Duncan Cab Sauv, a French Pinot, another Chablis. We play this game with each of them, taking turns to throw suggestions at each other. And it’s marvellous.
The Chardonnay is so outstanding, I order a tonne of it for the shop. Gina falls in love with Keith, and demands I bring her more (she can get quite demanding after a few wines). We look at the big, happy mess that is our kitchen and then turn out the lights.