Rioja Valley, Spain
Rioja is wine country and our local expert guide, Inma from Rioja Wine Trips, helps us make the most of it. Through her patient teaching, we discover the religion of wine (hint: it's a meditation).
- Instructions for stopping the endless monologue inside your head: Pour a glass of burgundy bliss. Swirl it gently and observe the color and viscid nature. Inhale. Ponder the notes you smell. It's ok - there's no judgement (do I smell pear? or maybe that's tobacco? am I doing this right?). The description will be unique for everyone because what we bring to the experience of smell and taste are our own memories and our own reminiscence. Take a sip. Try again and this time pay attention to the sensation on your tongue. Let it spread across your palate and then slowly swallow. What do you taste (no judgement)? What mental image arises? Does the taste evolve? What is the texture of the after-taste? How does the wine feel in your belly? Notice the point at which the experience has receded and you are ready to start anew with another sip. What is your current mental state? As you continue to enjoy your glass of wine, how does your mental state change? If you are eating food, how does the experience change when the wine mingles with the food? Pay attention.
- Instructions for judging a "good" wine: A good wine will have enough depth to keep the experience interesting from start to finish. A poor wine (or table wine) will not be full bodied enough to produce much of an experience. Neither is good or bad. It's about the intention. When you are eating and just want something to wash down the food or when your mind is pre-occupied, a poor wine suffices. When you want to calm the mind and truly relax, a good wine will provide enough stimulus to support the meditation. In either situation, too much expectation around the experience misses the point. Drink. Note the experience (good or bad). Let it go and be thankful for the moment.
While in Rioja, we had the immense pleasure of residing at the Marques de Riscal. Thank you once again, Sheraton for your superb Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG) program. We were upgraded to a suite at this exclusive, architecturally-stunning 43 room hotel and winery and we were treated like royalty! The staff, room, and food were exceptional and I will never forget this experience. Thank you so much! #SPG #loyalforever