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.
We have all been there. Summer holidays. Perhaps you are in Brittany, about to have some seafood. Or maybe sitting in a Greek taverna on the beautiful island of Santorini. You could be people watching at a café in the Piazza Navona in Rome, or perhaps you are in that cosy trattoria in a Tuscan hilltop town. Or…well you get the picture. You have just ordered the local specialty and the waiter has suggested a wine to accompany your meal. In Brittany it could be a Muscadet-Sevre et Maine sur lie, on Santorini maybe a glass of Agiorgitiko. In Rome it would have to be a wonderful fresh Orvieto or Frescati from the surrounding hills, and in Tuscany it is likely to be Chianti Colli Senisi from the hills just outside of Siena. The wine is sensational! You decide there and then you must bring some home with you. Of course with all the current restrictions on what you can take on board the plane it is not as easy as it used to be. On the other hand it might be possible to source the wine once home. In any case, when you do succeed in finding the wine or one very similar to it, and take it out on a special occasion to recreate your holiday experience, something strange happens. It quite simply doesn’t taste the same!
We once were vacationing in San Gimignano and had visited Siena for the day. The daytrip was a washout because of the bad weather, but upon returning to our host town, the sun burst out, and we found a great little wine bar overlooking a beautiful cypress tree dotted valley. There, I had two glasses of Chianti, the likes of which I have never tasted since. Was it the best Chianti in the world, or was it just one of those holiday experiences? I suspect the latter.
I’ve always thought that this phenomenon was just because while you can have the same wine, you cannot recreate the setting or the moment. However it now appears that ‘the taste of wine can vary substantially depending on where it is drunk’. * Things like light and sound can impact on how fruity or fresh a wine tastes. So if you are not able to recreate exactly that special environment or moment where and when you first tasted that memorable wine, there is only one thing for it…book your next holiday!
*Why your holiday wine never tastes as good as home. Sarah Knapton, Science Correspondent for The Telegraph, April 13, 2014
Chateau Tour Saint-Vincent, Medoc, 2005. €14.99 Lidl have a number of classy wines from Bordeaux, usually shelved away from their cheaper main wine section, this is one of them.
La Fleur d’Amelie, Bordeaux, (white). €15.49 New to Marks and Spencer’s from the excellent Chateau de Sours.
Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva. Around €10, often on special in SuperValu. Campo Viejo along with Oxford University, are sponsoring experiments to find out why wine tastes different under varying environmental conditions.