If you've read this blog more than once, it probably hasn't escaped your notice that I love to dance. I recently taught my first ever dance psychology class, where I shared the belief that we dance to live, to express, to have fun, and for human contact. Yes, we work hard to improve our skills, and that's part of the enjoyment, but the feeling that you get from sharing a magical four musical minutes with a master of your dance cannot be measured. It can however be compared to the feeling we get when we take a first sip of a wine and we know, just know, that tonight's gonna be a good, good night and you're glad you've opened that special bottle even though it's not even 6pm on a Thursday.
So, if nothing else, let this blog post inspire you to reach for your wine rack, dust off that bottle you've been saving and open it tonight. Yes, tonight! There is no better time than now to drink that good bottle.
Social dancing has brought me so much joy, and how wonderful to share the passion for dance with such kind people who remember your love of the wine from their region and bring a bottle when they visit.
Life is sweet. Warning: wine can be too!
Don't let this put you off if you are a confirmed dry wine drinker. And certainly don't be afraid to try wine in an Alsace flute shaped bottle. Most on our supermarket shelves are dry, and when they are not, those French are kindly starting to get a bit more open about telling us what's inside.
The Gewurztraminer grape has relatively low acidity for a white, but here there is enough to create a crisp and mouthwatering feel to the wine, despite the relative sweetness.
As you'd expect from a Gewurztraminer, there is an abundance of lychee and rose flavour that lingers long after you've swallowed the tiniest sip, as well as a hint of white pepper. My first taste had me running to the garden to enforce my husband to revel in the joyous sensations it stimulated in the mouth. He made exactly the same sounds of approval as I had, and was slightly disappointed to be disappearing off to a sweaty badminton court, leaving me to luxuriate in this wine all on my own.
Generally, a wine like this would be paired with fruit based desserts, strong cheeses, or exotic/spicy dishes (for example, Thai food). Website advice suggests Munster cheese and foie gras as the perfect partners. The wine was delicious on it's own, but realising that just a bottle of this did not make a nutritious dinner, I set off for my local supermarket, on foot after my first glass, don't worry. Despite living in The Royal Borough, my local branch of Waitrose don't seem to stock Foie Gras or Munster. The horror. So it was left to me to choose some suitable alternatives. Luckily, 2 of my favourite cheeses were discounted, a special reserve (24 months) Comté hard cheese and a soft, squishy, yet formidably pungent Epoisses from the Burgundy region. In place of the foie gras, I selected a duck liver, champagne and truffle paté. Well, you only live once and I don't eat like this every day... It turned a mundane midweek evening into a feast fit for kings. Yes, I'll say it again, but when you let it be, life can really be amazing.
Previous trips to Alsace haven't exactly centred on wine. Visiting a cardboard box factory in Kaysersberg didn't quite lead me to appreciate the full beauty of the place. As I learned the vocabulary for corrugated cardboard and throw up, I was left wondering if business travel could get less glamourous (clue: it could and did).
A trip to Strasbourg is great from a cuisine perspective, and there's plenty to see, but it will leave you wondering where the grapes are.
Hopefully this year, I'll make a more wine oriented trip to Alsace, although weekends are in short supply with all the dancing going on. Fitting in a trip is more challenging than I could have imagined.
If any readers are interested in an organised trip to Alsace, I'm quite keen to take a group of people from London via Eurostar, and perhaps late August or early September would afford us the best opportunity to see the vines in full fruit and the summer blooms. Let me know if you're interested and I'll try to set something up that's reasonably affordable, takes in good food and wine, and who knows, maybe even a dance or two.
Meanwhile, remember that this is the life you have. There will be always be good days and days which you'd rather forget. Make today a memorable day by opening that bottle you've been saving for a special occasion. The wine becomes the special occasion.
Do something you love, with someone you love. Love Life. And if you don't, change something.