"Envie d’Hiver", or the illusion of Instagram pictures, and Château La Mission Haut-Brion 2008
Winter in Hong Kong can be gloomy and depressing, cold, and usually covered by a thick, immovable blanket of grey clouds. So, I thought it to be amusing to start this post with a catchy French title "Envie d'Hiver", which translates as "longing for winter", while I actually feel the total opposite.
I'm not a winter person, except maybe when in the mountains, skiing and having a good time, (which I have not done in a long time), and thus, I cannot wait for winter to be over already. In fact, I'm like a "Marmotte". I could hibernate for 3 months straight to escape winter and wake up with spring, no problem.
The only good thing about winter, despite the magical sight of snow, the fireplace's heat, and hot chocolate, is the craving for comfy, earthy, fulfilling, and utterly satisfying food and wine, to warm up your body and brighten up your mood.
And the great thing about food and wine is that they both bring people together, and enhance conversations, with smiles and laughter, resulting in happy moments and good memories. That's why I love working with wine and love my job, as opening a bottle is always a good excuse to meet people and share a moment.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure to meet Florian (@donvolnay) and Melanie (a young intern in his company), two sympathetic and ambitious young wine lovers, who brought this bottle of Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion 2008, one of my favorite Bordeaux, making our meeting even more enjoyable.
After enjoying each other's company, while drinking a glass of this succulent wine, they left the rest of the bottle with me to bring it home.
Chateau La Mission Haut-Brion Pessac Leognan 2008
Respectively on the nose and palate, the wine boasted aromas and flavors of plum, dark fruits, licorice, earth, and graphite, with light oaky nuances. The palate is forward, opened, generous, and layered with ripe dark fruits and earthy tones, friendly even if somewhat a bit austere, yet nicely balanced between the fruit, the acidity, and the present and firm yet integrated tannins, bringing both structure and texture. Agreeably coating the palate thru the lingering finish. What a lovely wine!
It was very much appreciated and drank beautifully. Thank you, Florian.
In fact, I must say that, from recent experiences, it seems that many 2008 vintage Bordeaux are opening and drinking beautifully now.
In confidence, I will say that it is normal, (in my opinion), for both, Chateau Haut-Brion and La Mission Haut-Brion, as they are not wines to drink in their youth, as they usually take about 15 years minimum to open and start to fully express themselves and continue to defy time for decades with their great aging potentials. I love them both.
So, what does "the illusion of Instagram pictures" has to do with it?
Well, I wanted to take a picture for my IG account, but the bottle with the glass alone seemed boring.
So, I added the cans of Cassoulet (one of my favorite winter comfy foods). That's all I had on hand to make the picture more interesting and appealing. Yet, I must say that is definitely not the best food-wine pairing, as something heartier from the Southwest of France, like a Cahors (Malbec) or a Madiran (Tannat), would have been a much better pairing with the Cassoulet and its "Saucisses de Toulouse".
I also added the book to create a dark, cozy background, set the ambiance, and enhance the wine. Except that, (and I’m sure the connoisseur noticed it), "Grand Cru" (by Remington Norman) is about Burgundy Grand Crus, and thus has nothing to do with Bordeaux.
Yet, the book title "Grand Cru" was an "echo" (a "wink" or a "metaphor" if you prefer) to "La Mission Haut-Brion", which is often considered as the "6th" "Premier Grand Cru Classé", and/or, often referred to as a "Grand Cru Classé", while it is a "Cru Classé de Graves".
And that's how, very often, Instagram pictures are set up with things that are not related and/or have nothing to do with each other, but seem to fit together, creating the perfect illusion of a good picture with items that are related and belong with each other, while the reality is otherwise.
However, look at this picture again. The wine + the cans + the book make for a comfy and somewhat sophisticated illusion of a wintery ambiance, doesn't it?
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