Recently we were invited to a new friend’s home two hours south of Bordeaux. We met our new friend’s partner: a handsome, farmer-like Frenchman. He was the kind of Frenchman you automatically assume is an expert in wine, just because.
Did I dare? Yes. I brought wine from Spain as a gift, and this is what happened.
First, when I mentioned Spanish wine, he looks at me to see if he actually understands what I have said. “I brought wine from Spain for us to try.” It’s like he doesn’t quite think I’m serious.
He then looks at the bottle as if he is touching an ancient artifact or something he has never seen in real life and only on TV. He’s not quite sure how to judge it but interested enough.
He then searches for something to say about Spanish wine in general and manages to recount that since it’s hotter in Spain the alcohol level will probably be high. But, he says it in such a way that it seems he is only repeating a legend that has passed down through many generations.
Then he asks what the grape is. He has never heard of Tempranillo before.
We try the wine. He is not too impressed with the first bottle. It was a 9 year old oaked Tempranillo. It was good, but I wasn’t overly impressed either. He liked the second bottle. It was a 4 year old red blend, mostly Tempranillo. It was a bit smoother and fruitier.
Maybe he was just being nice. I’ll never know for sure, but I may think twice next time I think of bringing wine from Spain to a Frenchman’s house.
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