It’s the lucky ones who find a message in the bottle.
In his essay On Wine and Hashish, Charles Baudelaire writes of an old unknown author who said: “Nothing equals the joy of the man drinking, if not the wine at being drunk.”
Whilst even I struggle to believe that a wine feels actual joy (and I happen to believe every romantic notion about wine writing, including the pleasures of personification), I was reminded of the comment when I had the mixed experience of tasting a 1945 Beaune Grèves Burgundy that was beyond its time. Rather than Baudelaire’s projected joy, I felt a profound and inexplicable sadness that the wine had missed its moment.
We wine people love to ponder this particular quandary. Does a wine really exist if it was made but never drunk? Is a great wine wasted if it never communes with another? And if we draw the cork on a bottle that’s beyond its peak of greatness, is the wine wasted because it was opened too late? Like having a life but not really living it …
This is my latest column for Tim Atkin. Click here to continue reading.