From the tasting team

Jane Faulkner on the joy of wine

By Jane Faulkner

Jane Faulkner suggests throwing caution to the wind and opening your great bottles with the people you love. Now more than ever is the time for relishing the pure joy of wine. 

Given the recent lockdowns, ensuing hardships for many, and the general pandemic malaise, it has been difficult to stay buoyant. Now, though, I’ve allowed pondering time to weave its magic these past few months. My repose, a time for gardening, musing, reading, writing and drinking delicious wines. 

Aside from its rich culture and history, its intrigue and storytelling ability, wine is ultimately about joy and enjoyment. That’s the point. To elicit those emotions is all in the sharing of the libation with people you love.

The elation of drinking a complex elixir made from fermenting grapes is a constant source of wonder. Sure, there’s plenty of dross. There’s little delight in a two-buck-chuck, but conversely, it’s not about the most expensive or trophy bottles either. 

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Aside from its rich culture and history, its intrigue and storytelling ability, wine is ultimately about joy and enjoyment.

I remember the misfortune of being stuck next to a snobby git at a wine dinner in Beaune – yes, the epicentre of Burgundy. Oozing pomposity, he informed me he only ever drinks Premier Cru or Grand Cru. I burst out laughing and almost fell off my chair. After recovering my composure, I reeled off dozens of wines at the other end of the price and diversity spectrum, such as nebbiolo from Piedmont, German riesling, Australian chardonnay, Spanish tempranillo and more. I felt pity for him, so I got up and moved to be with others who wouldn’t suck the joy out of me or my glass of Village. 

As a writer, words or, rather, stories, are indispensable. It’s why my favourite wines are those laced with narrative. Yet there’s something quite refreshing and effortless about pouring a wine you adore, for whatever reason, with no score in sight, and simply relishing the moment. The moment is all we have. The smile of your friend at first sip will say it all, even on Zoom if you’ve sent them a bottle. 

This is also why I have never subscribed to the idea of keeping wine for a special occasion. Yes, there are bottles set aside for 21st birthdays and other rituals. I get that. But mostly, people stash a bottle or three in a cupboard or in the fridge, hoping for such a time without realising that opening the wine is the special occasion. 

I think today is the time to crack open your special bottle. Consider it a reward for just weathering this pandemic. That’s worth celebrating, as are all those long-overdue catch-ups with family and friends that provide the perfect opportunity to share and enjoy those great wines.