Wine-Tasting With Sebastian Flyte


My approach to life is mitigated by my literary experience:


I look on foppishness as a form of intelligence. (The Scarlet Pimpernel)

I idealize turf houses. (My Antonia)

I become distressed when fashion logos sport a large, embellished initial. (The Scarlet Letter)

I have baked several different variations of Lembas and Meadowcream Cake. (Lord of the Rings and Redwall)

I see mustachios and begin to think of little grey cells. (Hercule Poirot)

So it is completely natural, rational, and even compulsory that my guide to wine-tasting would be Sebastian Flyte. The explorations that Sebastian and Charles make into the world of fermenting grapes will forever form my methods of trying, tasting, and testing wines.




Step One:

Activate interest and willingness to form new friendships.

“Wilcox welcomed our interest; we had bottles brought up from every bin, and it was during those tranquil evenings with Sebastian that I first made a serious acquaintance with wine and sowed the seed of that rich harvest that was to be my stay in many barren years.”


Step Two:

Be open to learning and seeking knowledge.

“We would sit, he and I, in the Painted Parlor with three bottles open on the table and three glasses before each of us: Sebastian had found a book on wine-tasting, and we followed the instructions in detail.”


Step Three:

Coax out the best taste and enjoyment.

“We warmed the glass slightly at a candle, filled a third of it, swirled the wine around, nursed it in out hands held it to the light, breathed it, sipped it, filled our mouths with it and rolled it over the tongue, ringing it on the palate like a coin on the counter, tilted our heads back and let it trickle down the throat.”


Step Four:

Develope and share the joy.

“Then we talked of it and nibbled Bath Oliver biscuits, and passed on to another wine; then back to the first, then on to another, until all three were in circulation and the order of glasses got confused and we fell out over which was which, and we passed the glasses to and fro between us until there were six glasses, some of them with mixed wines in them which we had filled from the wrong bottle, till we were obliged to  to start over with three clean glasses each, ad the bottles were empty and our praises of them wilder and more exotic .”


Step Five:

Expend praise and poetry magnaminously.

” ‘ . . . It is like a little, shy wine like a gazelle.’
‘Like a leprechaun.’
‘Dappled, in a tapestry meadow.’
‘Like a flute by still water.’
‘ . . . and this is  wise old wine.’
‘A prophet in a cave.’
‘ . . . and this is a necklace of pearls on a white neck.’
‘Like a swan.’
‘Like the last unicorn.'”


Final Step:

Find the point of hilarity, (but not much further,) to paraphrase Thomas Aquinas.

“On a  sheep-cropped knoll under a clump of elms we ate strawberries and drank the wine – as Sebastian promised, they were delicious together – and we lit fat, Turkish cigarettes and lay on our backs, Sebastian’s eyes on the leaves above him, mine on his profile, while the blue-grey smoke rose, untroubled by any wind, and the sweet scent of the tobacco merged with the summer scents around us and the fumes of the sweet, golden wine seemed to lift us a finger’s breadth above the turf and hold us suspended.”



4 thoughts on “Wine-Tasting With Sebastian Flyte

  1. First of all, this pleases me very VERY much.

    Second, I think you should add a bit about what aspects of life are mitigated by Lord Peter. Or Bunter. Or Montague Egg. Etc.

    • Isn’t it obvious how Whimsey has affected my life? :-p

      I think you should add a bit about Literary Drinks: from Waugh – “Alexander Cocktails,” Sayers – “Port,” Christie – “Ciders,” etc!

  2. Pingback: Book Meme: ‘Psichore’s Day Two « Egotist's Club

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