A Côté 2010 (Domaine Charvin)
it’s 12°C in Paris and I’m fully booked.
Speaking of books, I wonder what to bring with me on my voyage to India this summer. Rudyard Kipling? V.S. Naipaul? E.M. Forster? Should I go for something set in post colonial India? Should I maybe bring something about ancient Indian myths and beliefs? A spice lexicon?
Or should the book be blank, a notebook, for me to jot down my impressions and feelings, always fleeting far more swiftly than the traveler intends them to?
I sometimes feel I should start keeping a journal. Because it is only in hindsight that we realise the adventures we were embarked on. When we’re living them, they seem more, I don’t know, static. The ebb and flow and tug of war we play with places, both in and outside of ourselves never appear as distinctly before us as when it is all over, the dust has settled, and the light is clear. Because, to put it simply, one forgets.
But then, isn’t this filter of souvenir, this editing of snapshots if you wish, the way we shape the mindscape of our lives? How convenient to let slip aside our flawed inclinations or paths too hastily traveled. To what extent do the logbooks of our lives require detail? These may be some of the most fascinating parts of the letters of giants such as Virginia Woolf or Vincent van Gogh, but what use do I have for recording the gritty mondanities of an average life?
Incessantly starting with a blank slate is not an option either, of course. But there are different means of recording. Postcards, letters, photographs, all leave a trail of who I was, am, am about to be. And, as in nearly each human life, themes develop. These themes, by resisting forgetfulness, by speaking louder than the white noise of daily life, have taken on the shape of guides.
Reading. Others’ words form much more fitting libretti to the tunes of my emotions.
Writing. Not so much to record as to find a certain inner fluency. Write to think. Write to communicate. As a function.
Cooking. To share. To love. To rejoice. To celebrate. To live.
Photographing. To amplify. To penetrate. To focus. To externalize.
Travelling. To understand. To taste. To smell. To flee.
Art. Music. Party. People.
These themes manifest themselves every so often, in powerful bouts. Once in a while I’ll catch the scent of Tuber Melanosporum and the essence of seasonal cuisine flashes before me. Now and again, a painting imposes itself on me with a stab of perfection, so vivid, years of museum visiting and book browsing fall into place. Sometimes, things match up, life appears harmonious.
When this happens, I am reminded that even though the climb is somewhat steep, the view is mostly worth it, and the life I have chosen fulfills me more often than it does not.
When I had my first sip of Domaine Charvin‘s Vin de Pays de la Principauté d’Orange, it was one of those moments. The wine isn’t mind-blowing. It’s not one that calls up memories or feelings or dreamy images of country side homes with Hydrangea filled gardens. It is, however, very good. It is clean and fruit forward and packed with refreshment.
Domaine Charvin makes Châteauneuf du Pape and Côtes du Rhône near Orange, on the Northwestern limit of the Châteauneuf AOC. Twenty-one hectares have been tended to by six generations of winemakers, who have seen some 160 vintages minus those made impossible by Phylloxera Vastatrix. The wines are produced according to traditional standards and are not filtered.
Their A Côté is a Vin de Pays de la Principauté d’Orange, and made up of equal parts Merlot and Grenache. It is a gorgeous balance between ripe fruit and refreshing acidity. Good minerality and a clean finish. Uncomplicated, honest, true to its origins, it is everything I expect from a wine and in a flash comforted me in the wines I have chosen to represent.
It’s a winemakers’ wine.