When I worked in wine retail, people would always come in raving about the wine they had on vacation.
They would claim that their vacation wine was:
- Hangover free
- Tasted amazing with everything they ate
- Surprisingly good (considering they normally don’t drink that type of wine).
Well, there’s a reason that vacation wine hits different. It’s because you’re on vacation.
Vacation wine’s taste and your perception of it has more to do with your surroundings than it does the actual grape juice inside.
So, why is vacation wine the best wine? And what can you do to recreate those vacation wine feelings at home?
Let’s jump in.
Why does vacation wine never leave you with a hangover?
No hangovers because you’re on vacation time
Your hangover-free lifestyle is not because vacation wine is some magic elixir. It’s because you didn’t have to worry about anything.
If you’re sleeping in and you’re not concerned about work or the kids, you’ll be hard-pressed to have anything ruin your mood.
Beyond that, you were probably drinking something inexpensive, but well made. The local stuff you drank in the café was made by locals and for locals. Most of it never leaves.
You can find comparable exports, but you’ll rarely be able to find the same exact wine from your vacation.
Why does vacation wine pair well with everything you eat?
It taste’s great with food because what grows together goes together
The wine pairs well with the food, because it has grown up alongside the cuisine for hundreds of years.
In most places outside the United States, wine and food have this beautiful symbiotic relationship.
Of course, there are interesting pairings that come from mixing wine and food from different cultures (Riesling and Spicy Asian food, yes!), but more often than not the old wine adage is true: what grows together goes together.
Why are vacation wines delicious when you normally don’t enjoy them?
Something surprised you because wine always tastes better at the domaine
This is one of those golden, yet mysterious wine rules. When you’re in the place the wine was made, you get to understand the wine at a deeper level.
It’s the romantic part. The smells, the sights, the people.
Plus, it’s hard to dislike anything in a beautiful setting overlooking vineyards.
So, you might find yourself saying, “Wow, I like this Chardonnay!” Even if you’ve sworn that you don’t enjoy any of it.
Wine always tastes best where it was made.
So how can you recreate the vacation wine experience at home?
- Take a staycation and drink your wine on days where work and family aren’t as important tomorrow.
- Source the ingredients and wine from the area you visited and prepare a meal. Your house will fill with those delicious smells.
- Remember that your recreation is just that.
Recreating the vacation experience is a lot like making a photocopy. You get the gist of original image, but there’s a loss in fidelity.
This Week’s Free-Run Juice
*free-run juice is a wine term for the grape juice that comes from their own weight prior to pressing. These are weekly tidbits that came out from my own wine reading.
Since we’re talking vacation, how about a trip to Mexico? Lime and salt included.
Tastes continue to evolve, but I was a bit shocked by the fact that mezcal and tequila are going to outpace sales for American whiskey.
What’s bubbling up at Spain’s underwater winery?
This story garnered a lot of attention this week, and it’s chasing a wild trend: wine salvaged from shipwrecks.
Is this a gimmick? It’s hard to say without tasting. But this appears to be a growing opportunity with more Spanish wineries going after underwater aging.
Really grateful for the community who reads this newsletter to push wine news and ideas to me.
Ray, sent me a note about Spain’s underwater winery and sent me down the rabbit hole. Thank you!
And a big shoutout to Anna Laura for inspiring this week’s theme thanks to the tweet below.
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