When living in Germany I visited Brussels on the odd business occaison. One day we found ourselves at a very fine restaurant in Brussels called La Maison du Cygne. I was there with some collegues and we were drinking 1986 Mouton Rothschild. We ate pheasant liver pate, looking out over the marketplace which was all lit up, it was lightly snowing, there was a painting from 1664 of a buxom woman standing in a marketplace setting with a child, cradled in one arm, her full translucent breast spilling from her pinafore, surrounded by tiers of now antique fruit and vegetables, game and fish in heavily laden baskets, with masts of tall ships in the background. The waiters reset around us as we smoked fine cigars and enjoyed cognac. They finally kicked us out into the snow, it was very hard to leave such a great evening behind us. It was an experience I will never forget.
Backpacking around Europe with a close friend of mine (in my youth), we found (or lost) ourselves in Amsterdam. I had packed the Triangier (small metho fuelled stove) for the journey and every day we went to the local market place and bought the freshest food we could find. We usually made pasta or risotto, and often we would invite a passerby or another backpacker to dine with us. This day we were sitting on the banks of the river, drinking a very very very average bottle of Bordeaux. We practised our language skills whilst we cooked, all took turns in stirring and we all drank from the same tin cup, full of wine. We had bought Savina Peppers (rating of 500,000 on the Scoville scale) thinking they were tiny capsicums, but as they started to fry we all began to cry and laugh and drink and cough. With our eyes watering we threw the contents of the pan into the river, and poured another large cup until the bottle was dry. Hungry and happy we headed off for another attempt at finding some victuals.
I was kindly asked to pick up a friend's mate who had not long arrived into Adelaide after numerous connecting flights and many hours travelling from California. He arrived just after 3pm on the ferry at Kingscote, Kangaroo Island, South Australia. I knew he would be tired so I stopped off and grabbed a couple of bottles of local Chardonnay to share over dinner to help him sleep a little better. After piling him into the vehicle and heading home we passed the local oyster farmer hanging out his sign for freshly shucked oysters, $5 per dozen. With a quick u-turn we collected 4 dozen fat, flavoursome freshly shucked Pacific oysters. On our way again, we detoured off the road a little later and found a nice beach, with an abandoned old timber boat on the high tide mark. We decided to sit in the boat and maybe snack on a few shells and subsequently ate and drank our way through both the 4 dozen oysters and 2 bottles of cool Chardonnay. We solved all the world's problems as only you can do with a new acquaintance and are now close friends today because of the experience.
One of my very interesting friends has the best Champagne cellars you could imagine. Old vintages, tiny estates and houses with miniscule production, classic bubbles, non-tradtional bubbles and everything in between. Luckily he does not have a palate for red wine. So one night, when we caught up at his house for dinner, we enjoyed some great Champagnes then we moved on to some dinner wines. He pulled out a bottle of 1982 Chateau Latour and suggested we give it a go as he had swapped it at some stage with someone years back for some "cheap fizz". I said "righteo" and out came the cork. This is without doubt the most memorable wine I have ever tasted. The intensity and youthfulness of the wine was so incredible it is hard to describe. I decanted it and let it be for a very short while. We nibbled a bit, chatted a bit, caught up a bit, but the whole time I was thinking about this stunning wine. I decided to pour very small portions of the wine into very large glasses. (I prefer to do this with exceptional wines as a) you get to see the wine evolve in the glass, b) it gives the wine in the decanter more time to breathe c) it helps in slowing down the consumption rate of sumptuous delights such as this one!) The wine showed.......hard to describe, vast intensity and a quality that was limitless. It showed a bouquet of freshly snapped green elm, fresh peppercorns, freshly kicked plain tree leaf litter, clove, concentrated raspberry, tomato bush, freshly worked new leather, persimmon, currants, rhubarb, baclava.....I could continue but you wouldn't believe me or you would continue to cast judgement on me and what I am saying. I won't begin to describe the palate as that is my little treasure, however, the wine was not my host's cup of tea (he went back to Champagne), so I got stuck having to drink the rest of the bottle and his half glass over the next 5 hours. It was a very very sad moment when I took the last sip. I knew then that it would be a long long long time before I found anything that would ever come close to this experience. And I still haven't quite found it yet. (p.s. Seriously can't remember what we had for dinner. He would have spent hours preparing it no doubt. Sorry mate. But top wine! God I love Champagne.......hmmm.)
So you see, wine is not everything, it is only a minor part in what we experience in our lives. But it is often a special part of the story.
Enjoy the Quality, Taste & Pleasure of Daylesford Wine Co.