I remember my first sip of good wine like it was yesterday. I was a late bloomer when it comes to wine, I have to admit. 23 year old Sarah was in Hong Kong with a load of strangers on her first ever press trip, having won a blogging competition run by the Hong Kong tourist board. To say I was like a kid in a sweet shop was an understatement – and I spent 5 days bounding around the island thinking I had well and truly hit the jackpot in life.
One activity on the trip was visiting Dialogue in the Dark and taking part in a blind wine tasting. I was ushered to a table with a wine critic from The Independent who scoffed at the question of whether he was drinking white or red. “Well, of course this is a red!”, he proclaimed. Much to his embarrassment, he was actually drinking a white. A white at room temperature, but a white no doubt. But this wasn’t the best bit of the experience – when we were led back into the lit up bar area, our servers were revealed… and they were all blind. Cue the tears! We’d just spent an hour and a half experiencing what it is like for blind people every single day. We raised a glass of Malbec to them and this was my first taste of velvety red deep and juicy red. A fellow trip member proclaimed that this would likely be my first of many glasses – oh how right she was.
My first sip of incredible wine, however, I remember like it was 5 minutes ago. I had just moved to Melbourne and had blagged a job at L’Hotel Gitan after pretending to have worked in the restaurant industry as a waitress for a couple of years before moving over (this was untrue and is definitely a story for another time). One of the chefs had invited everyone back to his for an after party and the only bottle of plonk he had left was one that had been gifted to him by no other than Jacques Raymond himself. He attempted to open the bottle and broke the cork in half, so hastily pressed the remaining half into the bottle. A bit of old cork with your wine, anyone?
The wine in question was a bottle of Bass Philip Pinot Noir and had I realised at the time just how hard it would be to come by a bottle of delicious nectar again, I might have savoured it just a little bit more than I did. I spent time after that evening finding out where I could get my hands on it and was told that the wine maker covers his barrels in blankets every night so they don’t get cold. This story of the quirky wine maker made its way to the guests of every customer I served the wine to afterwards. And it’s a wine and story I’ll never forget. Sadly, I’m yet to find this wine in the UK, so I wait for the day I can either return to Australia to be reunited, or someone I know visits and brings me back a gift.
Anyway, why am I telling you all this? I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while but have talked myself out of it a few times. I’m going to use the newfound Sozzled section of Life’s Loves to tell you about wines I have tried and loved. They might be cheap, or they might be expensive. But whatever they are, I’ll bring them to you not just in a way that you can understand, but a way that will make you want to try a drop, or two, or three…
But for now, who’s up for a glass of red?