If you ask any wine enthusiast how they got into wine, there is normally a good story behind it, and it normally starts with a very good wine. I remember mine like it was yesterday: a 1999 Bourgueil Cabernet Franc. At the time, I had no idea what any of those words meant and I probably would have struggled to articulate what it was about that wine that I enjoyed so much. So what was it that made it stand out? What made this wine different from everything else that I had tried up until that point?
The difference was that someone had actually taken the time to talk to me about what it was I was drinking. As I sat and listened to the life story of this wine, I was slowly starting to understand not just about the intricacy of flavour and texture, but of every geographical, cultural, and historical influence that had made it come to be. Suddenly, I was no longer in a moody wine bar in West London. I was strolling through the vineyards of the sun-kissed Garden of France, the Loire Valley. I was surrounded by the white brick of Renaissance Chateaux, the turquoise waters of the canals and fountains, and the vibrant palette of rolling hills, roses, and tulips. I could smell the cherry fields and apple orchards, taste the mineral-rich air of the Loire river and hear the afternoon church bells ring. Quite simply, I had been transported.
There are many gateways to understanding and enjoying the many different cultures of the world. To me, discovering a great glass of wine is as fulfilling as discovering a great book, film, or piece of art. And what makes a wine great? According to world-renowned wine author, journalist, and consultant Karen MacNeil, “Great wines incite emotion. They stop you in your tracks, send chills down your spine. Great wines appeal not only to the intellect; they have the rare power to make us feel.”
I started this business with the intention of sharing some of these moments. In a constantly changing world where travel and discovery is often unavailable, sometimes the easiest way to find a little adventure is to get together with your loved ones, open a bottle, and tour the glass.