The poetry of wine

I’m very curious about other people’s experiences here, as it’s rare I meet people with similar reasons of interest in and experience with wine. Prior to becoming interested in it, it was a beverage to me that I had occasionally had, and had only had table wines that were more or less group-able together as one ‘red wine’ or ‘white wine’ taste. But I remember smelling the top of a bottle of something real when hanging with the people who know wine well and got me into it, and it immediately transported me to a daycare I went to when I was about 7. I didn’t know it could do that. And since, it’s the experiences of it that really transport with imagery, memory, and emotion that thrill me with it.

So, my curiosity is if any of you engage with it for the same reasons, and appreciate the storytelling that a bottle can offer over the coarse of its opening, and the story of its home that it can tell, or of your own memories and places of imagery. So many wine people I’ve met seem to be really into tasting notes and know a lot, but it’s the poetry of it that fascinates me when it can, like for example when it gives the feeling inside your chest and imagery of a waterfall creek, or a victorian mansion’s library on a hill, or old memory.

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Well it’s been funny, but the smell of fresh sawdust is permanently linked in my brain to fond memories of childhood. So gargantuan over-the-top nose of oak doesn’t necessarily ruin a wine for me. It can’t make a dull, pedestrian, or monolithic wine any better than what it is, mind you, but a blast of oak doesn’t take down a good wine in my mind. This of course has led on many occasions to appreciating wines that pretty much everyone else HATES.

I’m not sure if I’d compare wine to poetry, but I do feel that some wines are inextricably intertwined with life for me. Certain people, places, memories, friendships, experiences aren’t written with ink, but with wine in my mind. Those connections are certainly something I savor, and the wine is a necessary part of the bundles of associations.

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Some wines write a poem in your presence. That my friend is the epitome of the wine experience.

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As long as it’s not this kind of poetry

Hahah, oof, k, that was a bit rough. Certainly extravagant. I do feel that the fun with wine is to say whatever is honestly received, fully honestly about what is smelled and tasted and experienced. To what degree his story is honest, I suppose none of us can really say, but it sounds stuffy in a whole other way (so goes my honest taste of his tasting)


I’m in it for the booze.


Thanks for posting this. :wine_glass:

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World of Fine Wine, has articles that exactly, and I mean exactly, cover what you are looking for, that poetry of wine, which is almost entirely missing with other publications. The writing is on a far higher level than the weird attempts by the likes of Suckling.

It has become extremely expensive, but I managed to rationalize my subscription with the thought that it is the equivalent of a first growth from a decent but not great vintage, and it gives me infinitely more pleasure.To be honest, there is a far cheaper on line alternative, but there is a lot of pleasure from getting the magazine (which is pretty massive) and reading it on the porch with a glass of wine.

As a disclaimer, I have written a couple of articles for them, but that stopped after retirement, and I have no current ties with them. I pay full boat, and I am fine with it.


Terry Thiese once wrote a note that it is a wine for drinking naked around a roaring fire with your loved one.

Wait, your daycare served wine?


I’m going to open a bottle of Limerick Lane tonight in Kai’s honor. :wine_glass:

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Great post. Interesting that @ Mark_Golodetz brings up Terry Theise. I seem to remember a quote from him, “wine is water in the form of poetry”. Can’t find the exact quote, but it was something to that effect.

For me, and many of us I imagine, wine can be incredibly evocative of particular memories. Music can do that for me too. Certain smells that are completely unrelated to wine.

Here is a portion of a tasting note for 2013 Bedrock Heritage that gets at what you’re talking about:

“When I was a kid, my parents would bring my sister and I to the public pool, and right outside the fence surrounding the pool was a huge old mulberry tree that would drop these plump juicy black mulberries all over the sidewalk. The branches were too high for me to reach, so I would pick the good looking ones right off the ground and eat them, warm, just a tad sweet, a little bitter. That mixture of wild mulberries that were probably a touch fermented, the ground covered in berries that were straight up rotting, and the distant smell of a chlorinated pool is vividly seared into my memory. And though this wine is not at all sweet, framed by mint and spice, and made 2500 miles away from where I grew up, there is something about this wine that triggers a remarkable sense memory of eating those warm mulberries as a 7 yr old. For me, the wine was worth it just for that.”

The full note: Community Tasting Note - 2013 Bedrock Wine Co. The Bedrock Heritage - CellarTracker


But I don’t like the smell of singed hair.

It is the great wines that do this for me - transport me to a specific memory or give me a specific feeling. In fact, that’s what defines a great wine for me. And it doesn’t have to be the most prestigious, although it tends to correlate with the higher end. A few examples off the top of my head: a Ramonet Chassagne Morgeots (can’t remember the year) that spoke so much about wines my dad would buy for us. So much so that I had what can only be described as a feeling of homesickness from tasting it. Another example: 1989 Haut Brion blanc, that had this iodine/seashell aroma that took me to a trip to Brittany when I was a kid. I am not sure “poetry “ sums it up, but I think I know what the OP is trying to suggest.
As for Suckling’s review, well, it’s telling that he just references “poetry” without actually, you know, quoting some. Is he recalling some Sitwell? (Jane,Jane, tall as a crane/The morning light creaks down again?) No? Some Swinburne perhaps? (I would find grievous ways to have thee slain,/ Intense device, and superflux of pain;/ Vex thee with amorous agonies, and shake/ Life at thy lips, and leave it there to ache….) No? Baudelaire? (Viens, mon beau chat, sur mon coeur amoureux;/ Retiens les griffes de ta patte,/ Et laisse-moi plonger dans tes beaux yeux,
/ Mêlés de métal et d’agate.
) Blake? “Tyger, tyger, burning bright/ In the forests of the night/ What immortal hand or eye/ “could frame thy fearful symmetry?)

Because I tell you that Margaux, and only Margaux, especially the 1928 I was able to taste, makes me think of the last of these quotes.

As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.

Ernest Hemingway


Scent is an extremely powerful sense, that has linkages to memory. It’s not just something that happens to Marcel Proust.

It’s always a special moment when the aroma of a wine transports us to a different time or different place. Hardy Wallace makes wines that have frequently had that effect on me.


And your tasting notes on those wines do convey that experience.

I don’t have any D&R or YEAH! yet i read your TNs on those just for the prose :cheers:


Wine can make me dance and sing, too.

I know wine has taken me places, but sometimes I don’t remember where.

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D&R and Yeah lend themselves to it. Some wines have plums, others have poetry.

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