Wine Lesson Number Two

I had a great childhood – my Dad taught me how to start a chainsaw, shoot a puck, and fillet a pike.  That’s a good Canadian education – experiential learning that you don’t get in regular school.  I am slowly learning how one gets an experiential education in wine – and it’s not about drinking. It’s about embarrassing me again.

I went to wine school a couple of times in the summer of 2008. My earlier post Wine Lesson Number One recalls how I embarrassed myself trying to “parlez vin” with a Frenchman – the story of Wine Lesson Number Two is a little easier on my ego.

Wine lesson number two also happened in Antibes, this time in a small wine store. My teacher was an aspiring négociant named Alexandre.  I insisted that he speak to me only in French until I didn’t understand anymore (which happened often – a reminder that knowing 15 words doesn’t make me bilingual).  It was exciting to be in France and try its great wines.  I was even ready to spend too much money.  After a lengthy conversation (he seemed to enjoy practicing his English when I “let” him) I left with a local $10 red wine.  This would suffice until I thought about my serious purchases overnight.  I would buy some great wines tomorrow.  Alexandre would be impressed by my purchase tomorrow – none of this “local wine for the tourist from Canada” stuff.

Of course the wine was fantastic and the next day I purchased more wines from Provence.  What did impress Alexandre was my appreciation for the local wine. I had learned wine lesson number 2 – that the local wines from Provence were way too good to pass up.  They weren’t expensive and they were fantastic.  Each day after that we talked about Provençal wines.

When I came home I started looking for wines from Provence on the LCBO and Vintages list – there really aren’t any.  After my initial disappointment I realized that I hadn’t really learned the lesson that Alexandre taught me at all.  What he was trying to teach me was that the local wines are what I want to drink.  I only live 140 kms from Niagara and some great wine!  Alexandre taught me that being a locavore (I need to come up with a cool word like that) is wine lesson number two.

I hope Alexandre comes to Canada some day – I have some learning to share with him.

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About Travis Oke

Wine writer / consultant View all posts by Travis Oke

2 responses to “Wine Lesson Number Two

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