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Food & Dining // Vino Sense
Roberto Viernes

The Sensuous Pleasures Of Good Wines

Some people say wine is better than sex. Even I’m not so sure about that. But I will say that I do have my share of winegasms.

A winegasm is a discharge of accumulated tension in the body and mind during wine drinking and/or tasting, resulting in sometimes rhythmic and random palate nirvana characterized by intense sensations of pleasure.

It is the ultimate experience in wine. The wine is the epicenter of this experience. It is that moment in time when words do little justice to describe the actual experience of a wine. It is always an exceptional wine. In many cases it may be the best wine you have ever had. It burns itself into your memory and your palate like a glowing branding iron on the haunch of a horse.

But it encompasses not only the wine – it takes in the whole moment and place. In that moment there is quite often people: friends and family. The closer in wavelength and affinity you are to those people, the more intense the experience. The location may not be anything special, but the wine and the people make it so. It could be a restaurant you frequent, a three-starred Michelin address or even your own home. The wine is so inspirational and so moving that you feel as if time stands still and it is just you and the wine. It fills your senses and you are deficient to put into words the whole experience.

And you relish it. You just have to tell someone about it no matter what words you choose. Sometimes it is just a photo of the bottle that you post on your Facebook page or text to someone. That energy caused by the explosion of emotions, flavors and thoughts all firing off synapses in your brain must be conveyed, released or shared.

I had one of these intense winegasms recently. I was invited by some friends to a local Chinese restaurant to share some wine. But I had no idea that the wine that my friend was going to bring was going to “rock my world.” In fact, it was not just one wine. He brought two bottles and, as I write these words, their memories send ripples through my palate and my heart.

The first was a bottle of 1969 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Montrachet. Montrachet is one of earth’s great vineyards. At its height it combines finesse, intensity, pedigree and complexity. This bottle did all of this and more. It was amazing to smell and taste. There were nuances in it that I cannot find in any other bottle of wine. It has aged gracefully over the years yet I could not describe it as being “old” in the least. In fact, it was quite fresh still with notes of fruits, nuts and a minerality that speaks volumes of its heritage and source. The length and intensity of flavor seem almost interminable as I can still recall the last sips of this wine for angels.

The second winegasm in the same night was a bottle of 1966 Domaine de la Romanee Conti Romanee Conti. I have heard from some that this may be the world’s most overrated wine, and that was from someone who was born, lives and works in Burgundy! And I have few reference points for the world’s most valuable and most highly regarded Burgundy. But this wine at this age of its life was simply stunning. The confluence of aromas and flavors were absolutely kaleidoscopic. There was still the alluring fruit with spices, rich and succulent but effortless and elegant. I looked at my wife and told her that there is nothing else on earth that smells or tastes like this. It is a wine that makes the mere sensual experience become an emotional one. I was completely enthralled. And what made these wines even more special was the fact that we were drinking them in memory of the person who purchased them, and with the friends who so generously shared them with us.

As you can see, I know winegasms well. I only wish that I would have more of them more often. May your wine drinking days be filled with them, too.

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