This time, I'm not going to write about wine, per se. I'm going to write around wine. That is, write about the reaction you might have when you taste wine with knowledgeable friends. You wouldn't think so, but tasting wine with other winos can in fact be treacherous territory.
Yes, I'm talking about tasting envy. No, not the jealous grip in your gut when you read about a bunch of the happy few drinking 39 vintages of La Tâche - no, I mean the uncomfortable sensation of looking over the rim of your glass with narrowed eyes when someone you're tasting with "gets it"... maybe better than you do.
We were sitting in a ridiculously sun-filled apartment high over the quai de Grenelle, where a generous and somewhat eccentric wine-lover had invited a tiny cluster (read: 3) of us over for a Burgundy tasting.
Michel sniffed the 2003 Yves Darviot Beaune 1er cru "Clos des Mouches"... and the rest of this paragraph is not a tasting note, because he got it and I was slow. Sure, maybe by the time the wine started to open up in the glass I was catching up, but it was mostly thanks to his tip-offs.
Another day, I tasted a white Burgundy with Neil. "A little watery on the attack, and there's a strange kind of butterscotch spiked with lemon rind on the finish," he mused, before my brain had started processing what was going down my throat. Well, damn. Yes, that's right. Thanks. I'm going to go hide behind this stack of Veuve-Clicquot cases.
We can't always get there first, I know. I smile and nod. And of course, in the end, my only consolation is to think that maybe sometimes, somewhere, someone is thinking, "Damn, how did she get that?"