So I’ve been enjoying wine for a number of years now. In fact, I was first introduced to the world of wine while living in Orlando back in the 90’s. Friends and I would attend jazz concerts namely at Cranes Roost Park, Winter Park Arts Festivals, and Black Fin in Winter Park Village. I noticed that wherever there was jazz, there was wine. Everyone there seemed to be having a good time as they enjoyed wine and champagne in elegant stemware, and so of course I joined in!
But it wasn’t until one summer when I traveled throughout France for a month and was able to spend time in wine boutiques, vineyards, wine caves or cellars, and dégustations (tastings) that I really got deep into the academic side of wine.
What had happened was….I was at Lafayette Gourmet (food hall located at Galeries Lafayette, Paris) one afternoon and decided to stop by the Bibliothéque des Vins, which is a wine gallery on that same floor. While browsing, I noticed a bottle of wine for 25,000 euros- at that time about 47,000 USD! Then on another shelf was a bottle for 55,000 euros. I said to myself “OMG!!!”, while gasping out loud. My mouth and eyes opened wide in astonishment because never had I seen figures that high except for cars and real estate! I had no idea wines could get that serious. I tried taking a picture of those bottles so I could show to family & friends because I knew they would be as amazed as I was. But the photo-op was interrupted by the doormen who said, “Madame, s’il vous plaît, no photo” (Madame, please, no photos allowed). Doormen at a wine shop? That right there should’ve been a clue that this was no ordinary place!
When I got back to the appartement, I Googled this wine and learned a little bit about the maker and winery (in case you’re wondering, the wines were Bordeaux, 40+ years vintage and produced by none other than Mouton Rothschild, of course. I began to see wine in a different light. I realized that it’s not just something to consume. It is a total experience- from the land in which the grapes are grown & cultivated, the family stories (Mondavi is a great story by the way), tradition, the terroir, religion (I know! Who would’ve thought it?) and best of all, the sharing among family & friends.
Since that trip to France, I have gone on to pursue formal training and obtained a certificate as a French Wine Scholar. Nowadays, I enjoy visiting different bars à vin (wine bars), meeting with the proprietors and sommeliers, and attending tasting events, mainly in Atlanta, Miami and my beloved Paris, where I spend most of my time throughout the year. I also love to travel and try to incorporate wine tastings & education wherever I go. I hope to inspire others to explore the world of wine and invite you to join The Cellars Club and discover great wines and great places.
ON Y VAS! (Let’s go)!
FWS- French Wine Scholar