So here we are in the second week of “lockdown” (or home retreat as we like to call it). It’s probably unprecedented that just about the whole world over, everyone else is also doing this. We’ve never been more physically isolated, but more socially in contact with our friends and family as right now. How does this relate to wine?
Wine is social. It’s as simple as that.
Think about it. By its very nature, its go-to format is a bottle that contains five glasses. It’s designed to be shared. Now that might currently mean pouring a glass and catching up with friends online, but it doesn’t take away from the ceremony of opening a bottle of wine, pouring a glass, and toasting to the people around you, the people on your screen, or whatever inspires you at the time. If anything, this is a time of interesting introspection that we are seldom gifted.
At St. Vincent’s Cave, our passion is European wine. Why? Firstly, because we love the flavours and history and diversity of European wine. Secondly, because we love even more the cultures of the wine producing European countries and the different way that they socialise. Think about it – the two countries in Europe with the fastest spread of coronavirus are currently Italy and Spain. Why is that? These are two of the most social countries on earth. Their day to day life involves regular catching up with neighbours for a morning espresso at the local bar, with colleagues for lunch, for an aperitif with friends after work, and for dinner with friends and family.
Spain and Italy are both inspiring in their acceptance of different generations and different social groups, all mingling together. To vastly generalise, the British and the Germans are planning ahead, and the Mediterranean countries are living in the present. It’s sad that the virus has castigated them so harshly for this. But it is a trait that should still be celebrated. Even “in isolation”, the Italians and the Spanish are not. Playing music on the balcony, playing paddle tennis out the windows to the next apartment, and posting incredible photos of the tapas and pasta dishes that they are recreating inside their homes in the absence of restaurants. They may well be driving each other crazy, but you’d have to be immune not to be inspired by the solidarity behind it.
Let’s zoom in to one of the wineries we included two wines of this week in our “Home Retreat Box” – Cantine Delibori.
At St. Vincent’s Cave, we have two philosophies that we don’t break from when we are selecting new wines to add to our portfolio. The first is,
we don’t buy anything we wouldn’t drink ourselves.
This saves us from any greed that might be dangled in front of us in the form of a pretty label and a great price, but containing a wine we would screw our faces up over for its acidity, or dryness, or grapefruit pip aftertaste. We’ve been brought up with too many morals to say that we personally wouldn’t go near it, but we’ll buy it for you. We couldn’t inflict bad wine on you. Our second philosophy is,
we have to like the people in the winery.
By that I mean, we can go for a drink with them, we can go for a one-hour lunch with them that becomes three, we can share a laugh with them and we’re not stuck for conversation fillers. You might not think that this has anything to do with the taste and quality of the wine, but there is a surprising correlation.
When we tasted the Delibori wines at Vinitaly (the Italian trade fair in Verona held every second April) we were only looking for a well-priced Valpolicella. Yet we walked away with no Valpolicella and most of the rest of their portfolio. Why? Because when we tasted them, we realised that we needed these wines even if they didn’t fit what we’d set out to find.
They tasted great, the pricing was beyond fair, and the people at Delibori, Arianna and Damiano, believed in their wines. Some people sell for money; other people sell because they believe. It’s immediately apparent which it is, when you’re looking for it.
As more reserved Anglo-Saxon countries, we’ve always appreciated and piggybacked off the vibe of the vivacious Italian and Spanish cultures, aware that it is unique and unable to be emulated. Now, as we find ourselves in a more fortunate health position, due to our lower population, less globally social nature, and the delayed onset of the virus here, I feel like it’s our turn to give them a lift.
You can rightly feel magnanimous that with every bottle, you’re contributing to Arianna and Damiano and in a broader sense, the economic health of Spain and Italy, two very social countries who are currently tending the open wounds of their vivacity.
What’s in the box?
Delibori Pinot Grigio: An off-dry pinot grigio with a crisp entrance, a weighty texture, and a pretty aftertaste of Williams pear. Crisp but not too much, easy to drink on its own, and rocking with seafood or vegetable linguini. Cannot go wrong. (See wine)
Delibori Cerbiolo: Smooth-as-silk red made from Corvina and Merlot. Boysenberry, spice, and just a hint of pencil shaving (in a good way) and vanilla. Slightly less oak than a Valpolicella and absolutely banging for the price. Why people don’t buy it: They’ve never heard of it. Why do they buy more once they start? Because this wine kicks it out of the park on the price-quality spectrum. (See wine)
Saluti e Salud, have a great week everyone!
Live in the moment like the Spanish and the Italians.
Time to slow down, savour, and appreciate.