Eve has moved from our Twickenham store to Richmond, and has had some thoughts about what wine means to her. She’s found it’s much more than just a drink.
Wine is not just a liquid. It’s not just something to drink. Wine is something we crave, something we look forward to hanging out with. An old friend and a new acquaintance to get to know. When I get together with my old favourites now, the ones I can always rely on I feel like I’m letting them down because I no longer enjoy them as I used to. You could say, just as with friends from past walks of life, I’ve outgrown them or they’ve outgrown me. The thing is though I still associate them with good people, good times, I still have a place for them in my heart. I still love them, like I love that old pair of comfy shoes with the hole in that I’ll never chuck out.
Before starting work at Majestic, my fail safe for a night in with the girls was a good old bottle of Villa Maria Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. We drank it like it was going out of fashion and when it was on offer it was as good an excuse as any for a little, drunken get-together. Recently I went home to watch Wales vs England in the 6 Nations (no, I don’t want to talk about it! It’s a sore subject) and I got together with my best friend for a night out. We watched the rugby during which we drank pints of cider and black of course (classy!). After the match we felt the need to drown our sorrows at the appalling result and so we headed to our local Wetherspoons for a drink or 2 or 10. When we got there I asked my friend Carys what she’d like to drink and as expected she replied “let’s have a glass of Villa for old times sake”. Not wanting to come across as a pretentious wine snob after only 4 months on the job I put on my most delighted face and bought two large glasses of the good stuff. Now, these days it wouldn’t usually be my wine of choice after the amount of amazing things I’ve been lucky enough to try but Villa Maria isn’t merely wine to me. It isn’t just something that’s on offer at the local supermarket or my plonk of choice at ‘Spoons in Barry. It’s a memory. It’s something I associate with my friends and the fun we’ve had eating carbs and chatting nonsense. If I’m honest with myself it is also one of the reasons I decided to get into wine. So, as much as I now prefer something more buttery and biscuity and have found a new pal in a bottle of Montagny, the first bottle I bought at Majestic, there will always be a place in my little world for my old friend Villa Maria.
This is one of the many things I love about wine. The way that you don’t only remember the aromas or how it tastes but that it has an association with a wider experience. Be that with the people you’ve enjoyed it with, the food that complimented it perfectly or that time you cracked open that bottle of 2007 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage to share with your Dad on Boxing Day. For this reason, amongst many, wine isn’t just a liquid; it isn’t just something that gets us drunk or takes the edge off the day and that’s what makes it so exciting. It’s a memory, a reference point, a way of marking celebrations or anniversaries. Wine is something we enjoy with the people we love and care about. It’s an experience we share with others and when we get the balance just right between good food, great company and the perfect wine there really is nothing more lovely.
Recently one of my nearest and dearest came to visit me in my little flat in Whitton. We decided to have a night in and spent it enjoying a bottle of Nyetimber NV with some fish and chips from a little chippy across the road. I’d heard about this food and wine pairing but I hadn’t tried it before. We sat on my bed and watched 8 out of 10 Cats does Countdown and giggled away whilst devouring this match made in heaven. 8 out of 10 Cats was interrupted by many yums, mmms and other noises of appreciation but that seemingly unimportant and insignificant evening will stick with both of us forever, merely because we enjoyed it so much. We talk about what bubbly we’ll have next time and when we can have our next fish and chips and fizz evening. It’s become ‘our thing’.
There is always something to be said for sharing an evening with old friends. They’re comfortable to be around, you don’t have to impress them and they never let you down. They’re reliable, sturdy and always there when you need them most. On the other hand, meeting new people, making new friends and getting to know things about them is really exciting. These new friends eventually become the old friends we know and love. Both are as important as each other for very different reasons and the same come be said in the world of wine. Those wines that you always have in your fridge or rack will always make you happy and remind you of special moments you’ve shared and have loved but there is a big wide world of wine out there for us all to explore. With these new wines, like my new friend Montagny and my favourite food match fish, chips and fizz, will come new experiences and memories to be made.
So don’t forget your old favourites, the ones that make you happiest but don’t be frightened to introduce new chums into your circle. You never know you may just find a new best mate.
Keep up with Eve and her new team at @majesticrch – www.majestic.co.uk/richmond