It’s the second half of 2009 and this Friday night finds me yet again seated in a classroom within Leslie Social building (or Leslie Commerce, I could never tell the difference) at another weekly Wine and Culture Society tasting. To my right is Mr Gai himself (pronounced Guy and short for Magai). We’ve already gotten into quite a bit of trouble over the last year and a half, with yet a few years still to come.
Up to no good
Paraded in front of us are the genius masterminds carrying on the hallowed tradition of bringing assorted wines to starved and stressed students. They are led by her immaculate highness Lindelwe (Lindi for short otherwise known as “Me Lady”, tips hat) who has long since become a close friend and confidant. The rest of her able team (Justin, Ryan and Will – the only names I now remember) are each engrossed in their own rolls, having more fun than anything else. They welcome us and rile us up for the coming evening events which includes a feverish introduction to the producer that will be showcasing their wines. There is no chance that I will ever remember the name of the producer at this point in time, and further yet I had absolutely no clue who they were before this night. I am a complete greenhorn when it comes to wine at the moment.
What a committee! Or at least part of them
All around is a cacophony of excitable students from all walks of faculties, cultures and ambitions for the rest of their night. Despite making a conscious decision to normally surround myself with a diverse group of people, I am continually excited by the level of integration these nights hold! Yet another draw to vinous experiences.
With the customary marketing pitch done and dusted we begin the tasting with the white wines that goes down almost uneventfully. I’m sure Gai and I are talking about all kinds of rubbish and involving anyone seated around us. The tempo of the room has, nonetheless, tangibly been raised thanks to the already tasted samples, as some students are still trickling in.
The fun that was had!
The host at the front, is patient and has a slight sense of humour. He keeps us pleasantly entertained, when we pay him any attention; more so in the beginning of the tasting than now.
We move to the reds, and I’m not sure what number of wine this is, but the memory will stay with me forever…
He is talking as through the wine; explaining what the grapes were put through to allow them to become the drink we are tasting today. Furthermore, he begins to explain what aromas we should be picking up in the wine, stating “If you stick your nose into the glass you’ll get flavours such as strawberry…”
I’ve been doing this for about half a year now, and I can swear on my left hand that whatever flavours they claim we should be able to pick up, I am never able to, despite my best efforts. It’s reached a point I almost believe they are making it up just to seem fancy. Something’s definitely different today, possibly it’s the shirt I’m wearing or the fact that I’ve actually showered my upper half, but this time around I pick up that STRAWBERRY! My mind is blown and I am incapable of controlling my elation.
He continues “… also some coffee and possibly dark chocolate…” and by George! I pick them up again! What is this world that has eluded me all these years? What is this beverage that not only gets you a little limber, but also allows you to explore a vivid world of flavour?
They’ve moved on to tasting the wine by now, yet I am still lost in the nose, breathing in every whiff that escapes the glass. I remain that way until they are pouring the next wine and I hurriedly gulp down my glass to create space for the next specimen to be sniffed. And again the backdrop falls completely silent, leaving me alone with my glassware that’s bursting with aromas.
That was the moment I truly fell in love with wine and I spend every day recreating it…