Here’s a question – which exact series of events have to occur to make you feel like you are really, truly on holiday? For some, it might be switching off your phone as you prepare for take-off on the plane to begin an adventure in foreign lands. For others, it’s staying in your pyjamas and burrowing into your couch with a box of oreos and an E! Entertainment special. Maybe it’s just that simple, yet rare freedom of being able to do whatever you want.
Just over a week ago, the two of us were lucky enough to venture to the historic wine region of Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is located between the towns of Orange and Avignon, in France’s Southern Rhone Valley, famous for powerful, full-bodied wines such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. If you’re looking for a taste of rural wine country life that’s less touristy than many of the other towns in the South of France, look no further.
However, it must be said that our experience of the place was so much more than guidebook facts. It involved the combination of hot sun on our skin, clay-tiled rooftops and multi-coloured facades just too pretty not to take a photo of. We found ourselves wandering down unknown but welcoming alleys and experienced that feeling – that beautiful feeling – of holiday. This feeling is genuinely one of the reasons why we love wine – because it’s directly linked to tourism.
Wine, just by itself, is a fantastic thing. It’s about history and science and even art. But combine wine with travel, and you give us human beings a base to form memorable experiences about the wine we drink. Few will remember trying seven different wines in a row during an average tasting and think anything special about any of them in particular. But if the winemaker shares an anecdote about how a wine got its name, or if you order a delicious bottle of wine along with a traditional meal that you eat in one of the wine region’s villages – that’s the special stuff that sticks and that you’ll be able to relay a year from now. It’s sort of like test driving a car – unless you’re an expert (or write it down diligently), you won’t remember the horsepower or the torque of the Mercedes Benz 300SL, but you’ll undoubtedly remember how you were basically James Dean while driving it.
And that’s what wine is all about – the experience. After all, to really enjoy a product – be it something as simple as cereal or something as special as wine – it’s always better enjoyed when it comes served with a side of story.