May Winner - Arianna Agostini
I was with my loved GrandPa Giorgio. He lived in his countryhouse in Montalcino, Italy, with a little vineyard.
He enjoyed making his own wine. A little. Just for the family. Just for pleasure.
One day he showed me a secret place: the little cantina (wine-cellar) where he made the wine.
The magic dark there was inside. A charming dark. The bewitched smell of the cellar. The two very BIG - for a child like me- barrels were grapes turned into wine. The amazing bottle-corking machine. More bottle please, more bottle.
"No you cannot taste it know. One day.
Wine needs to sleep.
And then you will realize why."
April Winner - Kelley Abbey
I was 26 years old and me and the love of my life quit our jobs, jumped on a plane, and moved to Paris. We rented a 300 square foot apartment in the heart of the city on the island of Il St Louis, and it was like living in a fairy tale. The building we lived in was built in the early 1600's, and was once home to a café where Hemmingway and Scott Fitzgerald would hang out. At nighttime we fell asleep to the sounds of the riverboat tours from the Siene going by out our window.
Our landlord Chris, a gentle, kind, American man in his seventies loved having two Canadians living in his apartment and when we paid our rent, he would insist on taking us out to dinner.
Our friendship blossomed quickly and it was during these dinners I believe I truly fell in love with wine. We would always meet at his place first for a bottle of champagne "to be civilized", and then we would walk to our favourite restaurant around the corner called Le Trimilou. Chris would order a bottle of white wine to start followed by a bottle of red to accompany our main courses. It was in these moments I really got to understand what it was like to taste wine with different foods and see how it not only enhanced the flavour of what I was eating, but how it heightened the entire experience. The very ritual of reading through a wine list and choosing the perfect bottle to accompany our dinner fascinated me. I also loved how we took the time to eat slowly and savour every bite of food sometimes turning a single meal into a three hour event. Chris loved to end his night with a glass (or two) of cognac and a double espresso.
We shared so many special meals with our dear friend, and the foundation of our friendship was based around our new love of wine and food. Some of the most interesting conversations I have ever had in my life were around the dinner table with Chris. Almost ten years and two children later, after we left Paris, we came back to visit one summer and we were able to return the favour and treated Chris to dinner at Le Trimilou. It was a night I will always cherish, as I will his lifelong friendship to my husband and I.