A totally made-up short story about tasting as an Oracle

Warning: If the content of the present remains obscure, that’s normal. Not mastering perfectly the language of Shakespeare, my inventive mind is subject to incongruous linguistic shortcuts. And I’m sure these lines are no exception…

Wine tasting can be like travelling through ancient Greece. All these words that fall out of your brain right into the tip of the pencil, guiding your hand to draw enigmatic curves on white paper. Labyrinthic descriptions arise, mystic as the Delphic Oracle. An alignment of words, as impossible to unravel as the snaky hairdressing of Medusa.

Yesterday was such a day. All started with a tasting note. Not mine, but the one of a fellow wine taster. It was an incredibly long and complicated review of a rosé. Holy sh…, a rosé! After reading, it was crystal clear: this must be a first growth, rated 25 out of 20. A wine so complex and majestic I could never climb to its level. I was lost. So I opened a bottle to verify if my tasting buds were still operational after such a baffling experience. One sip, and it spoke to me as an oracle. Bewildered, I stared at it eyes wide open.

This colour. What a colour!! It was almost Scarlet (not Johansson, more like O’Hara). So bright, recalling the dazzling sunset of Mount Olympus. Intense and enigmatic like a garnet vanishing on the horizon. So pure, so transparent, so perfectly shaped, so impermanent.

Breathing in. Hmmmmm. This was like a pilgrimage on the rooftop of European culture.

A second sip and it came to me as dry as dry can be. I felt surrounded by generous freshness; it was like having a small talk with Titaness Tethys whilst sitting on a rock somewhere below the Mytikas peak, enjoying the vast view over hills and valleys. Breath-taking.

And suddenly, the tannins came around, graceful as the light gait of a fox. I froze. Will they be peaceful or warlike? Finally, they were like velvet. The fox glanced at me and lay down in the grass, his smoky red fur shining in the fading sun. He continued to observe us, and so did the tannins, adding a nice texture and tension to our conversation.

Whilst sitting and chatting with Tethys, a great guy from Arabia joined us. A pilgrim and alchemist. His name was Al-Kohl, or something like that. He talked to us in a charming and warm way, as if we knew each other from a previous life. And I thought: what a nice guy! Even though he was a little overwhelming, his educated manners perfectly matched our unlikely trio and added body to this unexpected get together.

And as usual, the longer you enjoy the company of good friends (may they be youthful or aged), the more intense become the flavors of the conversation. Little by little the world around us filled with enchanted thoughts. Imaginary words were drawing flowers and fruits on the seemingly endless sparkling horizon. The night sky revealed cherry, raspberry and blackberry wrangling with roses and peony, dark orange zest gave a wink to even darker chocolate chips; a hint of vanilla was secretly kissing nutmeg behind the mineral curtain of the Milky Way. Suddenly the strawberry tree grew, bay laurel and cedar swaying in the evening breeze, hazelnut and cherry plum embracing the stars.

I remained silent, observing the unspeakable vision fade slowly. What a great balance.

The fox quietly stood up, Al-Kohl and Tethys were vividly discussing ageing potential when suddenly Morpheus showed up and took me in hostage. I managed to take a glimpse on the label. It stated “Cuvée Dionysos” or something like that, but I was too tired to see it clearly (not to mention that I forgot to wear my glasses).

When I woke up the next morning, the bottle was gone. Only the glass remained, the bottom tinted with red. Mystery.

Not knowing what to think of all that, I scribbled a few words on the scrapbook: deep garnet colour, great balance, freshness and velvety tannins underline an outstanding vibrant aromatic complexity. Worth every single drop. Great ageing potential. Origin uncertain.

Well, today I understand why in my very first school reports the teachers wrote: this girl has too much imagination…

And all this to draw only one conclusion: long descriptions make you regret the straightforward beauty of wine!