In vino veritas – from the Babylonians to Russia to China, the meaning is the same – where wine enters, truth exits. And the truth is I love wine. I’ve been lucky enough to sample some amazing ones over my life as well suffered the pain of the friendly, inexpensive, and wrathful depanneur wine. Ohh, the regret…And then I met James who is the owner and wine guru of Les Vins Elegant.
At first, I was skeptical about making my own wine. My brother, whom I love dearly, has made wine for many years and I have been the recipient of even more glasses. Perhaps it’s because we have different palates or home kits for wine-making have developed since he started, but I admit I can’t say I loved his creations. My connection to homemade wine was overly sweet and came with a headache. But James was patient. I asked him about what the different aspects you should think about before purchasing a home kit.
“Whether you want it to be light, medium or heavy body. Whether you want it to be dry or sweet. Your budget – whether your wine is in the price range of $120 up to $220. Everybody has a certain budget that they’re working with. That’s what our price range goes from. And if there is a certain wine you’d like to replicate that you’re buying constantly at a store, that you know that you love, you’re best to choose a wine that’s in that same style.”
I consider myself a fan of heavy body which is quite dry. So with that, James helped me choose an Italian Borolo for myself which uses the Borolo grape juice and grape skins along with oak powder and oak cubes. My partner is definitely on the lighter side and a little more “happy-go-lucky”, so we picked Vieux Chateau du Roi which contains 13 grape varieties and not as complex to make.
So, then we began. Over two months, James guided me through the process at his establishment. From the mixing, to the waiting, to the transferring, to the waiting, to the filtering, and finally to the bottling, he was there through it all – highly knowledgeable and precise with information and cleanliness. The only thing he didn’t help with was the drinking.
At last the day had come to sample my not-so-hard work. We started with the Chateau du Roi first to celebrate. My partner’s concern with wine was that it would lay to heavily on his stomach. I poured the ruby red out for dinner and we sampled. A miracle – we both enjoyed it. Even though it had just been bottled, it was miles away from the old brotherly kits from before as well as the late evening dep wine. It was light, but tasty with a slight vanilla after-taste. A couple of days later we dove into the Borolo. Definitely heavier and more complex, even at this early start it was delicious.
As Bunny Finkelstein said, “Making wine is like having children; you love them all, but boy, are they different.” And as time has progressed, so has the wine as my wine cellar has diminished. The thrill of seeing the fruits of my labour lined up gave me pleasure, but so has the ability to share my creation with friends. So far, I have always received a pleased and surprised reaction. Over time, the flavours have developed, but the wine is so good that it is hard to hold on to to see how good it can be over time. I’m impressed with what can be achieved and excited to try again. And trying is believing. Thank you James. Stay tuned – next article, “It’s a process”