Wine With Friends

Martin Codax, Marieta 2013
Albarino, Rias Baixas

It’s amazing how you can remember some wines vividly. I think this one will stay with me forever. 

One of the (many) things I love about wine is what a social drink it is.  Wine goes best with friends: over dinner, over catch ups, over celebrations, commiserations and just becauses.  My favourite wine drinking buddy is a long-time friend called Ruth.  We bonded over wine many years ago when we were next door neighbours.  We used to pop by each other’s houses for after-work rants, wind downs and pre-dinner drinks.   Our friendship has grown over many years and it has, like a fine wine, changed, matured, got more complex and ours is one of the great friendships.   We’ve always had a very similar palate and, as our friendship has grown and changed, as have our tastes.  We started, inevitably, on the Pinot Grigio, moved through Chablis, Gavi, Sauvignon Blanc – expanded into Muscadet, Picpoul, Albarino and many more. I learnt a lot from her in the early years and, without a doubt, without Ruth’s friendship, my knowledge and appreciation of wine would not be what it is today.

I started on my wine education having spent six months travelling the vineyards of South America.  I realised I wanted to know more and I wanted to have a structure to my education in case, one day, I wanted to use my knowledge to enter into a wine career.  One evening, Ruth brought a wonderful Albarino along with her to dinner at my house. As Ruth and I opened the Albarino (I didn’t know what it was, she hadn’t told me), I looked at the glass and we assessed the clarity, intensity and the colour (clear, pale and lemon).  Then we swirled the glass and stuck our noses in and this is when it happened.  I started explaining to Ruth all about the wine; what we should look for, what we should be enjoying, what we may be smelling.  I went through, explaining to my friend the WSET systematic approach to wine tasting.  We stepped through the process and, at the end, I judged this to be a very good Albarino. Ruth was impressed both with my knowledge and my explanation of the aromas, the flavours and the wine making process. It was at this moment that I thought – hang on – maybe I do have a career in wine just waiting for me, maybe I could teach people about wine…


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