Unfortunately, now that I am becoming a sommelier, it is no longer possible for me to be "Miles"'s exact human opposite. We'll just have too much in common, wine-wise, though I don't think Miles was even a sommelier. I think he was just a (barf) "wine enthusiast." But I can still strive to be the least Miles-y sommelier there ever was. The least douchey dickbag sommelier with a chill fun-loving spirit this world has ever known. I'm even going to make business cards, or get somebody else to make me some, that literally say “LAURA JANE FAULDS: Chill Sommelier.” And then people who want a chill sommelier will know to hire me and not some uppity uptight old-timey sommelier who looks like the candelabra from Beauty and the Beast. I mean can you even begin to imagine how many sommeliers there are out there who aren’t chill? Like, all the seventy year old man sommeliers in Paris who wear waistcoats? Or any French city? That’s where I come in. The sommeliers need me, to lighten up their rep.
The other day, I bought my boyfriend some really shitty wine. Obviously I wasn’t intending for it to be shitty. It just was. I’m not a sommelier yet. We were watching the penultimate episode of Breaking Bad (ew- saying "penultimate" was so not chill sommelier of me. I bet douchey Milesy sommeliers say "penultimate" soooo much. Sorry about that) when Mark asked me, "Should I make myself a cup of coffee, or should I have another glass of wine?" I had another sip of the shitty wine to confirm whether or not it was worth drinking another glass of, and I said his shitty wine tasted like the shitty dregs of coffee you would find at the bottom of one of those clear brown-handled coffee pots, which has been sitting around for hours at a truckstop diner in the middle of, like, Kentucky, and there’s still smoking allowed in the diner because it’s, like, 1987, so it also tasted a bit like cigarette smoke. I guess my point was maybe that he shouldn't have coffee. Since I detected notes of coffee in the wine. There’s some romance in that!” I explained, earnestly.
The moral of the story is that Mark had a cup of coffee and another glass of wine, and that the process leading up to his decision was a great example of my future chill sommelier style in its nascence. Imagine if you went to a restaurant and the descriptions of all the wines on the wine list were winding and verbose and heavy on the metaphor? And written in my insane narrative voice? You'd have to be either boring or an idiot to not be all the hell over that, so welcome to London wine culture circa 2017 starring Laura Jane Faulds as London’s great pioneer of the legendary "chill sommelier" movement.
I love white wine more than I love red wine. I want to get a tattoo that says WW>, which means "white wine over everything." I also want to open a white wine bar called WW> that only sells white wine and cute snacks such as beet salad or a clever little take on a peach cobbler. There have been two unforgettable moments in my life when taking my first sip of a glass of white wine did something insane and gorgeous to me, something that changed me forever, having felt so blissful and isolated inside of those tastes and those smells and even those chilled, physical glasses. I have always wished to devote my time on this planet to frivolity and ephemera. And so I have decided to center my professional life around chasing down more and more of those moments. I want to trap myself inside of those sips and I want to live in them forever. And I want to be drunk all the time.
When I was a little kid I had an L-shaped desk that slotted into one corner of my bedroom. I liked to sit in the nook under the desk and peek out from behind my desk chair. I have always loved existing in nooks more than I've loved existing anywhere else, except maybe by the water. And wine cellars are the ultimate nooks: they are nooks that have wine in them! They are dark and dank and probably smell weird. They're like the grotto where Ariel keeps all her kooky treasures in The Little Mermaid (2 Disney refs in this guy; cool), except instead of dinglehoppers they have wine in them!
Once I was lying in bed, and I was very stoned, and started reciting the Hare Krishna mantra to make myself fall asleep. I was high enough to feel connected to how powerful those words were. I thought about how many millions and billions of times those words had been recited been recited by human beings over the course of thousands and thousands of years. It occurred to me that perhaps every time those words were spoken, the actual physical words as blank, faceless objects, were imbued with extra power. And so to recite the Hare Krishna mantra in 2014 meant more than it did to recite the Hare Krishna mantra in 701 or 1865. And as I whispered those words over and over I started to feel like those words were not the words as I was saying them. They were every time they'd ever been spoken at once. I certainly didn't fall asleep right then.
Wine makes me feel the same way. It is the ultimate nostalgia, the taste of the passage of time. There's a bottle of champagne that sank on a ship in 1907, they found it underwater, that today a person can buy. I know if I drank it I could taste the ocean. You can teach yourself to detect notes of lychee and oak and roses and currants but I know if I drank it I could taste terror and the ocean. I think if I worked hard enough, I could teach myself to taste a person's life.