French Essence #2 – Wine

A few years ago  we worked for a while with a French estate agent helping to select properties we thought might appeal to potential English buyers.  Given most people’s romantic notion of the perfect French dreamhouse, it was not difficult to dismiss the ranks of ugly concrete shoe boxes and Spanish style haciendas which sadly pass for modern architecture in rural France, in favour of the local stone-built properties of yesteryear.   Whether empty falling down ruins or inhabited and beautifully maintained, these old houses are resplendent with character and oodles of rustic charm.  Many of them also possess that wonder of traditional French lifestyle, the ‘cave’ ( pronounced ‘carve’ ) or wine cellar. Many times we stood in open-mouthed wonder  in the lower recesses of an old house, surrounded by racks of bottles and wooden cases bearing romantic names and faraway dates, sometimes tagged with meticulously handwritten labels, accompanied by books of tasting notes, carefully monitored thermometers, tasting glasses and other essential parts of the Frenchman’s  wine kit.    We have often joked that our own cellar is typically English – it is empty, totally void, not a bottle in sight.  We have never been able to resist the temptation to lustily down any bottle of superior quality wine which may have crossed our path.  No chance of ‘laying down’ a crate or two for the future in our household.

The French manner of treating wine is so very different.  Wine is a crucial part of the cultural heritage, treated with love , pride and enormous respect.  In England we know our wines by grape variety (‘cépages’), a Frenchman knows his vineyards, his ‘millésimes’  (vintages) the grand crus and châteaux of his local region or personal preference. Nothing gives him more pleasure than to introduce you to his latest discovery or to present the perfect wine to compliment the perfect dish.  Wine is savoured by the glass, not guzzled by the bottle.   It is after all a most precious creation and in France the true appreciation of wine has almost been elevated to its’ own art form………………..

ALL PHOTOS © JANE MORLEY

24 Comments Add yours

  1. west517 says:

    This is fantastic~ the rustic background against gorgeous grapes– love the 2 empty bottles in the last photo– you stage your images SO WELL!! …a talent I am hoping to acquire 😀 ❤

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    1. Hiya west! So glad you like them and the rustic aspect, I liked the empty bottles for the luminous green colour! As for staging the images, I spend a lot of time arranging my shop displays which strangely enough helps with still life setups and vice versa! Have a fabulous week 😉 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. west517 says:

        🙂 Thank you~ you too! 🙂

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  2. Super…..But empty bottles make me sad, unless I’ve been personally involved.

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    1. Me too, but luckily in this instance I was… I’m just sad that they can’t be refilled with their original content on an unlimited basis – like a mobile phone contract…. 😕 😦

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      1. A ‘top-up’ over the phone !!!
        Wouldn’t that be FANTASTIC !!
        😀

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      2. I think I may invent it 🙂 😀

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      3. Put me down for a 12 month, un-limited, 70cl contract.
        o_O

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      4. No,no that won’t do at all, everyone buys it by the 5 litre box load over here, it ain’t pretty but it still tastes as good 😀

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      5. NO NO NO…I flatly refuse to drink wine from a carton!!
        I’m surprised at you.
        Another reason I’m a devout Hispanophile…Even their country wine still comes in bottles that have proper corks.
        Cartons?????? AAAAGH!

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      6. ^^’ No you don’t drink it from the carton, you ‘decant’ it into posh looking bottles, makes one feel better about the whole thing o_O 🙂

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      7. But you’d know !!
        NO NO NO !!!…….Ooooh I’m in quite a tizz!
        o_O

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      8. There you go you see, drinking from the bottle doesn’t help atall, you need to decant it first… Hic hic :/ o_O

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      9. I never argue with inebriates…..It’s a no-win situation.
        :/
        o_O

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      10. Quite so, or a so-nin wituation depending on how you look at it o_O 🙂

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      11. 🙂
        Sorry for delay…I was enjoying our badinage…
        Once again my internet threw a wobbly.
        😦
        (So I gave up and sank a bottle of Bo-Jolly).

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      12. Disgusting behaviour! And you, a student! Obviously tea and toasted muffins are out of fashion. Sounds like you have a rubbish internet provider, this may be France but orange do a good job for us out-in-the-sticks folk. o_O Do you have lectures on a photography course I wonder? Seems a strange idea 😕

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      13. I’m not in a Richmal Crompton book, I’m in the ‘Real World’… 🙂
        AND don’t get me started about ISP’s, you wouldn’t like my language, and YES….(We do have lectures).
        It’s all rather more academic than I was led to believe….Loads of analysis and contextual theory, sketchbooks, technical research and even a bloody dissertation.
        I am no longer merely a ‘happy-snapper’, I am an ‘Artiste’……… :-/

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      14. Real world, yes of course you are sh o_O I remember it only too well, the dreaming spires of academia 😕 I can just imagine the analysis bit 😦 I should think the contextual bit might be interesting if that means social history context, don’t envy you the dissertation bit though :/ You could always be radical and present a blank negative with a fancy title, seems to work wonders for so many artistes these days 😦 🙂

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      15. The dreaming spires of Wolverhampton…..
        Hmmmmmm…
        I don’t mind a bit of analysis but doing it on masse is downright weird.
        o_O

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  3. Having just returned from a trip to Napa Valley in California and a wonderful wine-tasting adventure, I absolutely was enthralled by this post and the photos. Like you, I’m the kind who buys the wine and drinks it 🙂 Though after our trip, we do have quite a few cases coming our way next month. Oh, the dilemma – do we store or do we drink 😉

    I noticed West used the word “staging” for your photos. It’s a perfect word, and perhaps one commonly used in “food” or “still life” photography. This is a talent I just don’t excel at, but I am so in awe of those (like you) who can see the photographic possibilities in simple, everyday things. Perhaps by continued study of your images, I may begin to develop such an eye. Fingers crossed!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We’re lucky enough to live not far from the Medoc – unlucky enough not to have the means to buy any of its wonderful produce!! Only joking, it has to be said that even ordinary wine here is very drinkable, must be the same in California I’m sure. Thanks for the very flattering comments about my still life pics, very much appreciated. In the absence of the hustle and bustle of the town, the everyday and ordinary of the countryside becomes my photographic buzz!

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      1. I’m partial to Sauvignon Blancs from Australia and New Zealand – and luckily the ones I like aren’t all that expensive 🙂 Of course, I certainly have no problems drinking the expensive bottles 😉

        Liked by 1 person

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