I’ve just arrived from a short Christmas trip to Bordeaux, France. This city is the capital of a region with the same name, world wide famous for their wines. As beginners in the art of wine appreciation, this place is definitely a very important destination, like India is for meditation, Italy is for food and Brazil is for happiness. We decided to appreciate wines while they are cheap to appreciate and while living very close to a big variety of it. One day, when we go back to Brazil or maybe go far from Europe for a new foreign experience, wine appreciation will become an expensive and rare experience. So, the time is now!
The first impression about Bordeaux was, let’s say… shocking! From that we got an important lesson: it isn’t a good idea to be a tourist around Christmas’s day (December, 24) in Europe. Here, at least during our last two experiences, Christmas is for everybody, including cooks, waiters, cleaners, guides, receptionists, and all other professionals that give some assistance for visitors. So, the city was empty, no restaurants, shops, shows, nothing. The weather was even colder than Belgium and with a dense fog. Then, what Brazilian people usually do when something worse and out of control happens? They start to laugh, laugh a lot about the planned tragedy, about how idiot they were to get in such a situation. Well, at least we could have fun for a while, before a moral hangover all over the evening, thinking how to save our trip from a failure.
December 25, we woke up in a bad mood, but at least we had a great breakfast, there was not fog anymore and we had a plan in mind. “So, if it is all we have, let’s use it in our favor and go out there to get some luck”, I said. We walked, walked a lot through empty streets, squares, exploring the whole City Center, as if the city was closed just for our delight and for the quality of our pictures. We visited monuments, historical sites, secular churches, and other tips given by our green guide book. We had chosen everything that is possible to do without any professional service during that day, which was indeed a good experience.
Our luck was gradually improving and the rest of the trip was simply perfect. The top of our luck was exactly on the last day, December 27, when we learned great lessons about the three words in the title of this post. And all these lessons were gotten as we learned about wines. We realized that wines have more to give than just the pleasure of drinking it with a wonderful person and a great meal. We were able to buy two of the last places in a wine guided tour to visit two castles, producers of important appellations, in the fields of Bordeaux. After some bottles in many local restaurants, the time for an awesome experience finally came.
At the first stop of our tour we learned the first word: Patience. We stopped on a castle where the wine Chateau Lanessan Haut-Médoc is produced, a controlled appellation of the Bordeaux region, which means a high quality wine with a rigid control by competent authorities. To produce a wine with such quality they have to work a lot, invest a considerable amount of money and wait for a long time, from 1 to 5 years to transform grapes in wine and aging for a minimum period to be well appreciated. All people in the vine know the consequences of their work has a long term impact and there is no space for anxiety. They have to focus on the present, follow the planned schedule and be optimistic about the future. When we think the wine got old enough in the castle to be immediately consumed, they still ask to wait for a few more years. It demands patience and patience is what we need to achieve our dreams.
The process to get grapes in the perfect shape to be collected tells a beautiful story about Strength. The castle guide explained that grapes are like human beings. They are able to get better and stronger after every hard experience of life. That’s why the soil to cultivate good grapes should be poor and stony. Those grapes will fight to survive, sharing scarce resources. Soil with abundance of organic material will make grapes lazy, with a weak soul, thus without dignity to give us any pleasure.
Last, but not least, it isn’t possible to get a good wine without Discipline. The wine production demands a careful attention of many variables, such as soil, temperature, humidity, seasons, and many others. During the fermentation (the process to transform the grape juice in alcohol), a team of enologists strictly monitors the temperature and pressure. If a single detail goes wrong a considerable part of the production will be lost. That’s what could happen with our projects without disciplined habits.
This close contact with a wine culture taught us even more good lessons, but these three words were what I would like to emphasize for you now. This trip was so valuable for us that we may divide our stay in Europe in two parts: before Bordeaux and after Bordeaux. 🙂
One last tip: If you want to be happy, healthy and not an alcoholic, do like me, drink wine during the meals 😉