I’d always been around wine. It was a constant presence at lunches, dinners and copious amounts of it were drunk at Sunday lunch, which in my house, was a command performance for the entire family.
My aunt would spend Sunday mornings in the kitchen, usually yelling at the maid, twirling her wooden spoon like a weapon; and my poor uncle would hide downstairs in his cellar to keep out of her way. Mainly, though, he loved to walk up and down the old stone floors, looking at every bottle, doing a mental inventory of everything he had, whilst quietly indulging in a glass or two before lunch. “I had to taste the wine before serving it,” he would always say.
A big fan of Bordeaux, he’d been buying wine since the late ‘40s and as such, had some of the best vintages the region offered from the years after the Second World War and through the 70’s.
I still remember the lunch when I was allowed to have my first sip of wine. I don’t remember much apart from the sensation of red velvet going down my throat. Years later, when I understood and cared a bit more about wine, my uncle told that it was a 1959 Mouton Rothschild.
I took my uncle’s suggestion, but, much to his chagrin, decided to go to Burgundy. I signed up at the CFPPA, the main wine and agricultural institute in Beaune, where, besides academia, I had the honour to apprentice with some of the iconic winemakers of the region.