Life is difficult, currently. And there are times we are obliged to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and face the day. Other times, we look, quite reasonably, to a little escapism. I like a good book, a movie, a song. But my absolute favourite means of escapism is to enjoy these things with a bottle of wine open beside me. It is a ritual with me. I have my Riedel crystal glass, which I like to re-polish before use, so it sparkles. I often decanter the wine, especially if it`s a red. I smell, reflecting on the wine`s aroma, swish the glass, and smell once more, taking my time about it, mentally noting any developments. During the moments when I am holding the liquid in my mouth, I am taking in its flavours, the weight, the acidity, the feel of it, as it coats my mouth. I suck air through the wine, which further aerates it, intensifying the flavours. Subconsciously, or even consciously, I am appraising it, and having swallowed the wine I am assessing if the aftertaste is short, medium, or long. I may well even emit a small grunt of satisfaction, or, sometimes, a small, critical, nose wrinkle. Occasionally a wine will transport me, to another time, or another place; why just the other evening I opened a bottle of Rustenberg John X Merriman, and immediately I was taken back to South Africa and our visit there a year ago. It compelled me to pick up the photo album which is dedicated to the trip, and my wife and I enjoyed a good fifteen-minute reminisce of pure, happy escapism. Of course, wine has its warming effect as well. A glass or two at the end of a working day gives a welcome reset, from work mode, to chill, taking the edge off the strains of the day. I find red wine especially mellowing. Furthermore, one`s whole evening brightens notably, and somehow it becomes even easier to lose oneself, be it in a book, a movie, or a song. Cheers everyone!