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Divine Wines-What’s In A Name?

I just got this fantastic question of Andreas Wiedow, who questioned me “What’s a divine wine?”. And I can assure you this question got me thinking…

Well in order to be able to tell you what is a divine wine, let’s take a look at the definition of divine.

DIVINE – A DEFINITION

A definition taken from the Webster dictionary.

Divine:
1 a : of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God or a god (divine like) b : being a deity (the divine savior) c : directed to a deity (divine worship)
2 a : supremely excellent : superb (the pie was divine) b : heavenly, godlike

So we are talking about superb, heavenly wines. I would guess this excludes your daily plonk. So it has to be something special, something godlike!

DIVINE = EXPENSIVE?

So, do you have to open your wallet a lot for divinity? Ooooh yes! At least for me.

For this person a divine wine is in general expensive (around 15 to 20 EUR and often a lot more, but there are exceptions. I had recently an extremely nice Nero d’Avola which we sell for about 11 EUR and which is just divine, I mean complex and elegant).

But be aware, this has not always been so (oh no) and can be clarified (oh yes).

1. Education

Liking wines is also a bit understanding wines. Let’s compare it to your school period. When starting secondary school at 6 years, I guess you could write and read just a small bit. Well that’s why we have all those years at school, isn’t. If one would have dropped in your hands a book of Milan Kundera or Umberto Eco, you surely would not be able to appreciate it at that age (let stand to read it ;-) ). Harry Potter, maybe.

Nowadays I -at least- can delight in Milan Kundera a lot (this is a divine writer to me) and I delight in a lot Harry Potter (which are fantastic page turners, hey no divinity here, but a lot of pleasure).

Just the same with wines. You start off with Harry Potter wines, juicy, simple (to know) wines and you work you’re way through to Milan Kundera wines, complex of an unseen elegance, hard type of wines. And yes it is an education!

So it took me a couple (lot) of years to find my way to the complexity of e.g. a Barolo wine. Ooh so divine. And as most of us, I started of with a simple juicy wine, such as a Pays D’Oc merlot or …(just fill in). Maybe at that moment these were divine wines, but now they are no longer divine. Hey these type of wines can be pleasing and sometimes very pleasing. And it makes me smile when I find a wine in the “below 6 EUR category” that is fantastic. Price quality ratio is vital…but for GODLIKE wines, I like to get my stuff in the higher price ranges.

2. Learning To Appreciate

Another comparison can be made with classic music. As a small child I despised it. When my parents turned on some classic stuff it was the time to run of yelling to my room. Now I like it. I delight in an evening out at the opera and had some really divine moments over there! If you have seen “La Traviata” I guess you would know what I’m talking about.

Again, just the same with wine. You need to learn appreciate it, and maybe you need also some age, some (live) experience. And maybe the sooner you start with wine the sooner you can appreciate the hard (read DIVINE) wines.

3. Appreciation And Education

Learning to appreciate is of course closely linked with education. In order to be able to appreciate, you need to learn, to know how a wine is made, how it obtains its complexity. And to train…yes to train your nose, your taste.

I’m heavy pro some kind of “sniffing and tasting” course at school. It is one of our senses we do not learn to use. If you don’t believe, do the test: just try to catch some smells blind, very hard thing to do.

So one tip on how to appreciate DIVINE wines: sniff, taste and sniff, taste and sniff, taste and… You can try to sniff a lot of things, just go to your local market and sniff the flowers, the food or step in your garden and sniff the trees, the leaves, the grass, … You will notice that after a while your nose gets trained and you will pick up far more simpler smells (yeah, also the terrible ones ;-) ).

THE MOMENT

And divinity is also very largely dependent on the moment. Something that proceeds from God or a god doesn’t come 24/7.

So there are this special moments when every puzzle piece fits in and when you drink some fantastic wine at such moments, you will remember. The grazy thing is that such wines could also be very simple wines. Thus, the exception to my rule that divine wines need to be expensive.

I still remember a trip with school to Rome where we drank an Est!, Est!!, Est!!! di Montefiascone, really a quite simple wine, but with a lot of college boys combined with an incredible time in Italy, this turned out just as such a memorable moment.

Points that are in advantage of the above theory are of course that I didn’t had any wine education yet!

There are some moments I just can remember because of the fantastic feeling of that moment combined with an incredible wine.

CONCLUSION

For me, the aspects that influence the divinity of wine are thus the following:

Education
Learning to appreciate
The combination of the two above
The moment

And because of these aspects, I often end up with a wine that is in the higher price range. What can I do about it? I’m just a product of my education…

Some last tip for you wine lovers. If you start with wine and you desire to beef up your wine cellar, do not, I repeat, do not buy too many of the first wines you like, you will see that your taste will change, that you will (learn to) appreciate other (read more complex) wines. And that a fantastic moment isn’t simple to repeat…even with that same fantastic wine!

And on that bombshell….I’ll go to my cellar and get me a divine wine.

Bart Van Honsté is a passionate wine lover and enthusiastic wine trader at WineRoute who specializes in Italian wines and likes to bring you the tales behind the wine. Always looking for some new hidden gems from every wine country. Next to this he is also teaching wine classes and WSET advanced certificate holder.

Check out his company at

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2 Comments on “Divine Wines-What’s In A Name?”

  • Chuck wrote on 9 June, 2009, 22:36

    thx

  • C Brandy wrote on 9 June, 2009, 22:37

    thx for article

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