…the Pétrus was divine. A wine to be explored rather than tasted, it lured me like an exquisite bird of paradise through a lush jungle of many-layered, complex flavours. I brought the great bowl of the crystal glass to my nose and inhaled deeply. I could smell ripe black fruits and evening violets, white truffles, cinnamon, liquorice, musk and, on the finish, something elusive, smoky and dark. The powerful aromas carried me on a journey, an olfactory voyage to summer orchards, cottage gardens and misty autumn forests, through Zanzibar’s spice markets, past Byzantine coffee houses and backstreet Patagonian chocolatiers. I knew, from my studies, the names of the volatile compounds that created these nuances – the aldehydes and terpenes, esters and polyphenols, that constitute a wine’s smell – but the bouquet exploding from my glass wasn’t chemistry, it was sorcery, alchemist’s gold; and I was holding the Holy Grail.
Taken from Broke the Grape’s Joy by Patrick Hilyer.