So we are lovers of wine, if you haven’t picked up on that by now you obviously have not read our last post. We also write and wine, right now we have a lovely tasting of 3 French reds in front of us as I write this. When our friend, Rory, told us he would be going wine tasting outside of Perth last weekend we knew he had to write our first guest post for us. So without further ado here is our Dutch friend, Rory’s, experience wine tasting in Perth.
Wine… the blood of Christ, Nectar of the Gods and an all-around divine drink that mere mortals should carry with a bit more class. Its history is believed to predate antiquity and has been known for its role in more than a fair share of vulgarities. The ancient Greeks and Romans were well known for their wine sodden orgies debasing its divine value but then again these people were made in the image of their Gods and meant to reflect their morals and values. Wine did eventually take a turn towards more class where it became the drink for fine dining and good conversation but like all things born of nature it still, on occasion, takes a walk on the wild side.
I have been on my share of wine adventures, which started when I was rather young on trips through Italy with my parents. This initial introduction to wine was that of a drink for civilized men with class. The wine would be studied and tasted in moderation and one is not to actually drink the wine but rather spit it out (hence it is called wine tasting). The proper enjoyment of the wine would come later after purchase and even then it has a tendency to sit untouched until an occasion calls for it. A good wine would not be wasted on such things as orgies but rather at events such as weddings or simply having friends over for a nice dinner.
Now, in no way is it to be said that one use of wine is better than the other but it is the occasion of when it is to be used where one should think about how that is to be done.
I attended university in Rome, Italy, a country with some of the finest wines, and walked on both the classy and the wild side of the drink. Wine was relatively cheap in Rome and as a financially struggling student, with the energy to party through the night; it was the best alternative to the expensive drinks at the bar. I partied like the Romans of old, sans orgy, and partook in some lamer forms of vulgarity and deprivation (drunkenness and tasteless dance moves) which were sometimes met with regret and a hint of self-loathing the next morning.
Aperitivo; an Italian tradition involving bite sized meals and a glass of wine. Both the word and its definition give off a form of simple elegance and class. It is in a way a pre-dinner ritual to meet up for a drink and a small bite to eat. No deprivation and no vulgarities just simple enjoyment of food, wine and company.
Wine tasting, as described earlier, follows the latter form of wine usage involving simple elegance and class. This is believed to be so but today that line seems to have blurred.
Australia, a continent made up of mostly desert and high temperatures has, to my surprise, a very nice selection of wines. Areas near Perth have some excellent vineyards one of which is called Swan Valley. I had a chance, through my brother in law, to partake in a company wine tasting trip to this valley. There were three vineyards that we would stop at with a stop for lunch before the last one. Now the group that was attending this trip were very young and most were of the female sex (all were mid to late twenties) and that usually does not mean anything but in this case it sort of did.
Our first stop was a vineyard called ‘Sitella Cellar Door’. It looked very respectful and everything went quite smoothly. The first few wines we were given to taste were white wines, none of which either my sister, my brother in law or myself were very impressed with. The reds followed soon after but even these were so-so. We ended with an excellent port that, upon leaving, I purchased. Where most of the wines, especially the whites, lacked any distinctive flavour the port left a raisin-like taste in my mouth that reminded me of a candy that I ate as a child.
Soon after, we got back onto the bus and everything appeared to be well and civil until one of the girls shouted: “I’ll flash my tits for ten dollars!” From then on things slowly escalated.
Our second stop was called ‘Upper Reach’ and it functioned a little differently to other vineyards. It was a family owned business that allowed us to serve our wine ourselves. They simply brought the bottles over to our table, gave a brief explanation and left us to our own devices. Again the wines were of so-so quality but that did not stop most of the group from taking advantage of the self-service situation. The combination of the self-service and of the sun and the fact that we had not had lunch yet, foreshadowed a bit of chaos to come.
At this point the environment in the bus had become a rather loud one where those sitting in the back were having conversations with those sitting in the front. What was supposed to be an event for grown-ups started to look suspiciously like a high school field trip. Our next stop was lunch and believed that filling our stomachs would allow for our minds to settle down, I was sadly but not unfortunately mistaken.
Lunch was rather great. We were presented with a feast of various foods from cheeses to chicken nuggets seemingly enough to settle the stomach. However, we were also given the opportunity to wash down said food with drinks of our choosing; from water to spirits. Wine was served freely as bottles were constantly replaced at each table; beers and cocktails were ordered from one end to the other and not soon after a meat pie was seen thrown from one girl to the next. Drinks were spilled, spouses were angered and loud conversations were heard. It was a dinner party the ancients would be proud of (sans orgy).
It all eventually calmed down but only due to the prospect of one last stop. Excitement had reached its peak on the bus as people marched triumphantly, waving stolen glasses and bottles of wine, onto the bus; some struggling to find their feet or their seat for that matter.
The last vineyard was called ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and I can honestly say that I felt sorry for the owners of this establishment for having to entertain our ‘stumbling, bumbling band of baboons’. I, along with my sister, brother in law and a few others, were still composed and were thusly treated so by the owners. They smartly and rightly picked who they would serve their wine to fearing the worst. The worst unsurprisingly happened as one of the girls elegantly separated from her lunch, by which I mean she spewed all over the grass and spat like a lama.
Despite some grotesque scenery, ‘The Ugly Duckling’ had a better selection of wine than the previous vineyards and my sister found a sweet white wine that was to her liking. Throughout the chaos one of the girls, in her drunken state, believed I was someone who went to high school with her brother to which I politely replied ‘no’. She was persistent, however, and asked me if I was sure to which I replied, “Yeh, I am pretty sure.”
On the ride back the drunken storm had calmed a bit as drowsiness started to take its toll. The plan of most of the people on the bus, however, was to continue the party at a pub. I, on the other hand, simply went home with my sister and brother in law. I was, in truth, very happy about the day’s proceedings as I believed it to be quite a story to tell.
So now Alex and I need to Australia and go wine tasting, whether or not there will be orgies I cannot say but we will definitely be drinking a lot of wine. Australia 2016, be prepared.
If you want to read more about drinking adventures check out these other articles: