Beijing, 11 August 2013

Last weekend, I was reading a really interesting article in the Sunday edition of the Financial Times. It was about winemaking in Georgia (the country, not the American state), which archaeologists tell us has been in the winemaking business for 8,000 years or so. But what really struck me in the article was the following paragraph:

“The result is a width, a tannic grip and a textural depth that no conventionally made white wine will ever have. The wines’ aromas and flavours are singular too. Their acidity is muted, since they have all been through the acid-softening malolactic fermentation, while contact with the other matter in the jar, especially the yeast deposits, rounds the flavours further. In place of the fresh fruits that so many white wines suggest, these evoke dried fruits, mushrooms, straw, nuts and umami. They have less of an oxidative tang than their colours suggest; indeed, their articulation is often understated and quiet, though orchestral in its allusive range. They are meditative wines, sumptuous and subtle.”

I’m always awed by this kind of writing about wines. Whenever I drink a good wine, all that comes to my mind is “Mmm, that’s good!”

I feel it shouldn’t be so. I mean, wine courses through my veins. My maternal grandparents, whom I have referred to in earlier posts, were both descended from families of vignerons, winemakers, who lived in these small villages in the Beaujolais.



We know that this is where they came from because my father, a passionate amateur genealogist, spent a number of summers in the 1950s ferreting around in the local archives and tracking down the generations one after another. It was a joke in the family that the villagers would see my father hove into view on a bicycle, whitened by the dust on the roads – they weren’t asphalted in those days – and announce in French, but with a very English accent, that they were his cousins.

But back to the matter in hand. Really, I’m just a vigneron with a thin icing of education. So I should be able to talk for hours on end about the orchestral and allusive range of the wine I’m drinking, pointing out the evocations of mushrooms and raspberries and nuts and whatever else. But all that ever comes to mind is “Mmm, that’s yummy! Pour me another glass.”

And the worst of it all – but don’t spread this around – is that I don’t really like Beaujolais. I much prefer Spanish wines.



Wines from Spain:

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I like writing, but I’ve spent most of my life writing about things that don’t particularly interest me. Finally, as I neared the age of 60, I decided to change that. I wanted to write about things that interested me. What really interests me is beauty. So I’ve focused this blog on beautiful things. I could be writing about a formally beautiful object in a museum. But it could also be something sitting quietly on a shelf. Or it could be just a fleeting view that's caught my eye, or a momentary splash of colour-on-colour at the turn of the road. Or it could be a piece of music I've just heard. Or a piece of poetry. Or food. And I’m sure I’ve missed things. But I’ll also write about interesting things that I hear or read about. Isn't there a beauty about things pleasing to the mind? I started just writing, but my wife quickly persuaded me to include photos. I tried it and I liked it. So my posts are now a mix of words and pictures, most of which I find on the internet. What else about me? When I first started this blog, my wife and I lived in Beijing where I was head of the regional office of the UN Agency I worked for. So at the beginning I wrote a lot about things Chinese. Then we moved to Bangkok, where again I headed up my Agency's regional office. So for a period I wrote about Thailand and South-East Asia more generally. But we had lived in Austria for many years before moving to China, and anyway we both come from Europe my wife is Italian while I'm half English, half French - so I often write about things European. Now I'm retired and we've moved back to Europe, so I suppose I will be writing a lot more about the Old Continent, interspersed with posts we have gone to visit. What else? We have two grown children, who had already left the nest when we moved to China, but they still figure from time to time in my posts. I’ll let my readers figure out more about me from reading what I've written. As these readers will discover, I really like trees. So I chose a tree - an apple tree, painted by the Austrian painter Gustav Klimt - as my gravatar. And I chose Abellio as my name because he is the Celtic God of the apple tree. I hope you enjoy my posts. Klimt/big/Apple Tree I.jpg

4 thoughts on “WINE IN MY BLOOD”

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