Wine’s Magic Ingredient

Dollarhide Estate Vineyard tasting. | Courtesy St. Supéry

It’s a picture perfect afternoon in wine country and you and your bestie are sitting on the most elegant of scenic hilltop patios being treated like, well, like the stars that you are. Wines are being presented and poured by gracious family members and nothing is beyond your reach. Library selections from deep in the cellar are served along with stories of the terroir, regional and family history and so much more.

The wines? Sublime, of course, among the finest you have experienced and suddenly the robust tasting fee seems like a bargain. You purchase copious amounts of the pricey gems to be delivered to your door to relive this bliss.

Fast forward a few weeks and you have invited your wine-loving friends over to share in the magic held like a genie in these bottles. But after your first sip, your imagination hears the screeching of a needle abusing a record. This is not the honeydew vine-water that brought ecstasy to your core. You check the label. It does state the wine and vintage you bought, but there must be mischief afoot because this not what you remember as wine heaven.

Have you been had? Does the winery serve the special sauce at the winery and ship the second-tier juice to you? Well, anything is possible, but you are almost certainly experiencing the real connection between how your feelings affect your perception. Think of your wine-country experience akin to the first blossoms of love: the air smells fresher, the colors are oh so vivid and the senses are alight with pleasure.

As you have probably guessed by now, the magic ingredient can be free and you can get it anywhere. It is simply the way you feel when you are drinking your wine in an especially good mood; yes, the wine buzz has something to do with it, but it’s not the main ingredient. The secret sauce is you and what you feel when you are enjoying wine. Sure you can have a perfectly fine time with wine and Netflix, but for the magic to happen you have to add some happy to the scene: wine with yoga in a mountain meadow — check; wine on the beach appreciating the bounty of Tahoe scenery — double check.

As for your intrepid columnist, I find my sure-fire, wine-bliss ingredient is friends. As much as I like being spoiled by, well, anybody, while being served exceptional vino, in my humble opinion, great friends and great wine trump anything wine country has to offer. As a bonus I, or you, can create it almost any time. Cheers indeed.