Mindfulness and wine

San Gimignano

Posted on: 5th September, 2016

Category: The Wine Buff

Contributor: Tony Eklof

Tony Eklof, originally from New England, has settled in Clonakilty after a career as a librarian at University College Dublin. His knowledge and passion for wine has been inspired by frequent visits to the wine growing regions of the continent, particularly Italy and France.

Mindfulness, focusing on one’s awareness of the present moment, calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings thoughts and sensations –perhaps with a glass of fine wine on hand? I was reflecting recently on some of those perfect moments when everything comes together, the situation, the company, a memorable wine, ideally all three.

When our sons were small boys we took the ferry to Roscoff and made our way by public transport across the coast of the wonderfully named Cotes de Granit Rose and spent our last night in the seaside town of Sables d’Or. After a trip to the local charcuterie where we picked up the ubiquitous baguette and pate and cheese and of course a bottle of French country red, we made our way to a picnic bench and ate while watching the sun slowly set over the Cote d’Emeraude drinking the wine from plastic cups (like Miles at the end of the great wine film Sideways). One of those never-to-be-forgotten moments.

On one of our Italian trips we took an apartment in the characterful Tuscan hilltop town of San Gimignano, famous for the many high towers, which were built to show off the wealth of local mercantile families. We decided to visit nearby Siena but unfortunately the skies opened, as they can do on the continent, and we saw little of Tuscany’s second most famous city. Feeling deflated we went back to San Gimignano where the sun miraculously reappeared and found a lovely ‘enoteca’ where we followed the owner’s advice and drank the most wonderful chianti from proper glasses as we gazed down on the typical Tuscan landscape below, cypress trees and all.

A number of years ago we met up with my sister from Connecticut and her husband to celebrate their wedding anniversary. We agreed upon Paris as Bill had never been and who needs any excuse to visit the city, which recently the ‘What’s Hot’ column in the Irish Times puzzlingly labelled ‘over­rated’. On the short walk from the Hotel des Carmes to the restaurant of choice we passed by Notre Dame and the evening bells started to ring. In La Rotisserie du Beaujolais they gave us a snug overlooking the cathedral and the Seine and we dined well and drank wonderful Morgon, one of the best crus of the Beaujolais region. More recently we reunited and celebrated again this time closer to home, in Deasy’s of Clonakilty, where we drank a great Californian Zinfandel called Gladiator, which was so delicious that when our visitors got back home to New England they immediately sourced it for their Thanksgiving dinner.

Here’s wishing all our readers many such enjoyable mindful wine moments in the future.

Recommendations

Brolio, Chianti Classico. Sensational flagship wine for one of the oldest. Chianti producers, Baron Ricasoli. O’Donovans, Bandon, €24.

Baden Pinot Noir. A rare chance to taste excellent light German red, Aldi, Bandon, €9.99.

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