‘Magical’ isn’t a word you associate with most drinks. So, what exactly makes wine so magical? It’s air of mystery certainly helps, along with the fact that no matter how much we learn about it, we can never quite get a handle on how a humble grape can create so many different flavours. Although we can’t explain the magic in simple terms (that’s the whole point of magic, after all), here are a few possible reasons.
A Sense of Time and Place
Tasting certain foods can take us back to our childhoods or evoke certain memories. Wine can do this too but in different ways – one wine could remind us of that Italian holiday from a few years ago, whilst another could remind you of a specific Christmas lunch circa 1998. We attach special, personal meanings to wines in a way we don’t to any other sort of food or drink and the power of nostalgia knows no bounds. Then there’s the impact of a particular place – wines are strongly connected to their locations and many of these locations happen to be very beautiful indeed. Even if we’ve never visited them before, taking that first sip can summon up an imaginary holiday, and that in itself is a very magical thing.
Part of Our Identity
Our favourite wines can become part of our personality, something that makes us stand out from the crowd, a badge of honour. Whether it’s a particular brand or grape variety, this can offer familiarity and comfort, or a jumping off point to explore other bottles.
Not all wines are expensive, but the fact that those eye-watering prices exist in the world gives wine an air of grandeur you can’t really place on too many other drinks. Even though that glass of non-vintage Champagne isn’t in the same league as Dom Perignon, it still somehow bathes in its expensive (and magical) glow.
It’s all very well trying to pinpoint exactly what makes wine so magical, but isn’t the whole point that we can’t? So many factors influence aroma and flavour. Add to that the whole subjectivity of wine and you’re left trying to grasp at something that is always going to be out of reach. The fact that we can’t really explain the magic in any one way is perhaps what makes wine so magical. Of course, if we dig a little deeper, then science provides all the answers we need. But as magical as science is in its own right, when it comes to wine, we seem to prefer the mystery.
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