April 5th 2014
Everyone that knows us, knows that we. LOVE. wine.
Before we left the UK on our adventures Alex took a sommeliers course so that we could understand wine better and know what to buy when stood looking helpless in front of that long faceless wall of bottles in the supermarket.
All in the name of ‘learning’ we tasted hundreds of bottles of wine, always making notes and saving the labels in a diary of sorts, it became a hobby and we invited our friends to join us holding weekly wine tastings.
Before driving around it, we drank our way around the world, a group of 8 of us buying a bottle each week from our selected country, tasting, taking notes, comparing and then once the serious part was over we would have a great laugh getting rid of the leftovers.
So while we are travelling we find ourselves sampling the local wines very, very often. Believe it or not, this driving-around-the-world-getting-married-on-average-every-ten-days thing is quite tiring; and hard; really, really hard. So some days we like to put our feet up after a long drive, cook us up some great local produce and polish off a bottle wine.
We unwind, talk about the day, laugh at the dramas that have inevitably occurred and savour the grapes we have never heard of in lands we have never been to before. We swirl our glasses and inspect the colour of the liquid happiness, we sniff and close our eyes and appreciate every sip we take.
We. enjoy. wine.
Anyway, Im rambling on and on…the point of this entire post is not to make excuses for drinking wine on a regular basis and talking about it constantly, the point was to talk about an experience we encountered whilst in the home of wine. Now you are all going to immediately presume that we mean Italy, or France or Greece…but we are in Georgia.
It is believed that the domestication of the wine grape and wine-making began in what is now Georgia. The earliest archaeological evidence of wine production yet found has been at sites in Georgia dating back as far as 6000BC, so you can imagine our excitement at getting stuck in to a few unknown grapes, all in the name of research of course!
We sampled the home made brews with friends in Batumi, experimented with a few shop bought varietals in Makhinjauri and when we got to Tbilisi we went all out and took ourselves on a date night.
We sat in the funky restaurant serving top quality local organic produce, Georgian beef and more importantly good Georgian wine. We sampled a few glasses and selected our poison. It was a great bottle. Soft and velvety on the tongue, round and ripe on the nose with accents of smoke and fruit, it had just the right amount of tannin, was perfectly balanced and it was the most beautiful ruby red.
We enjoyed it slowly, savouring each mouthful while pondering over the extensive menu. Ordering food to match the wine. Home jerked beef carpaccio with parmesan and rocket and beef tartare with a big fat juicy sunshine of an egg yolk to stir in yourself. It was a real treat and we talked the night, and an entire bottle of wine away.
One bottle between two people is enough for anyone, us included…BUT we were so absorbed in the evening, having SUCH a good time that we decided to throw caution (and budget) to the wind and order. another. BOTTLE!
We summoned the smartly dressed quietly spoken waiter and placed our order, only to be told extremely politely that they will only serve a maximum of four glasses per person.
We glanced at each other momentarily stunned but nodded as he offered to bring us another glass of wine, rounding us up to our total of four glasses.
As he left to bring us our wine we looked at each other and we said “he is right, what a great rule. No-one needs more than 4 glasses of wine. It is just the right amount”.
Although an incredible rule, we were surprised that it existed in Georgia after our experience of ‘Supra’, a special meal. The tradition is to have a Tamada, a toastmaster at the table who is responsible for making a minimum of 9 heartfelt, poetically amazing toasts. The Tamada must be eloquent, hilarious and able to drink. With each toast he makes he encourages the guests at the table to take a hefty swig of great wine accompanied with the cry ‘Guamarjos’, Cheers, or ‘to our victory’. So you can imagine in this case the four glass rule would not be so welcomed!
I told Alex that the first thing that came to my mind was to suggest to the poor waiter that we were responsible adults and could make our own decisions about how much wine we drank…but what kind of responsible is it to go to a restaurant and drink an entire bottle of wine?
So we drank our four glasses, felt suitably happy in a wine induced fuzziness and left the restaurant with full bellies and full hearts.
HOWEVER, we did continue to roam the beautiful streets of Tbilisi’s stunning old town and without realising it found ourselves sat in an Irish bar with yet another glass of wine in front of us. Obviously our years of alcohol abuse and the habit of heading to the nearest bar after leaving a restaurant are pretty deep rooted.
But we will have the four glasses rule for the rest of our lives, maybe next time we will manage to stick to it and wake up feeling a lot better than we did after this particular night out (its always the last glass that does it).
How do you feel about wine? Is it a habit, a way to relax, a social thing or not at all your cup of tea?
Do you think the four glasses rule is JUST right?
We love to hear from you and of course, we will raise a glass to all who comment! Any excuse!