“Wine is bottled poetry.”
Robert Louis Stevenson
Wine and poetry have always made great companions. In regards to poetry, I have willingly followed Baudelaire’s invocation: “Enivrez-vous, enivrez-vous sans cesse…Get drunk, get drunk all the time! On wine, on poetry or on virtue – just as you please…” and I’m very fond of the Omar Khayyam classic verse : “A flask of wine, a book of verse – and thou” which describes a perfect state of happiness: a lover, some wine, and poetry -whether the state of giddiness comes from love or the wine, who knows?- Drinking for taste and not intoxication, (although one summer in Aix, this was not a mutually exclusive affair with certain Chateau Grand Seuil bottles), I am not an indifferent wine drinker. In fact, I fondly remember my first glass of Cloudy Bay. The experience was as memorable as described by a wine critic: “Drinking one’s first New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is like having sex for the first time… ” and like an infatuated teenager, I wanted to share this event with the world. I have a memory of writing to friends to describe fruits suddenly blooming in my mouth and sunlight trapped in a bottle. This was no extravagant hyperbole. It was, trust me on that one, a grand experience. Lately I have indulged more in deep garnet Argentinian malbecs and neglected the lovely whites from the Marlborough region but I returned last night to my first love, and let me assure you the magic was intact: the wine still exploded in my mouth with raw, unadorned beauty.
“Wine comes in at the mouth – sings the poet Yeats,
and love comes in at the eye;
That’s all we shall know for truth
before we grow old and die.
I lift the glass to my mouth,
I look at you, and I sigh.”
As I read in the Song of Solomon: “Let me kiss thee with the kisses of my mouth, for thy love is better than wine …” , I rejoice that we don’t have to choose between love, poetry and wine… and we can enjoy all three- simultaneously!
Michele Voltaire Marcelin