E  from http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/article2091979.ece

If you were made, like I was, to study John Keats at school, the chances are you will remember that vivid stanza in hisOde To A Nightingale, in which he longs for a draught of vintage cooled in the “deep-delved earth” and tasting of “flora and the country green.”

It never occurred to me to wonder then, as I do now, what wine he could have been thirsting for. He yearned for a “beaker full of the warm South” that had “beaded bubbles winking at the brim” and left his mouth “purple-stained.” A red bubbly? That doesn’t make sense.

There must be a rational literary interpretation that irons out this incongruity. But lets leave that aside and focus on the subject at hand — the association between wine and literature.

Wine has inspired some of our best writers to write elegies in verse and prose. The great Pablo Neruda who wrote many Odes, devoted one highly embroidered and metaphor-filled poem to wine, describing it as a “starry child of earth” and “soft as lascivious velvet” and comparing the line of his love’s hip to the “brimming curve of the wine goblet.”

In what are now much-quoted quotes, Robert Louis Stevenson described wine as “bottled poetry” and the astronomer Galileo wrote that “Wine is sunlight, held together by water.”

And, contemporary novelist Jay McInerney is much more than just one of the world’s finest wine critics; he is also a damn fine writer, whose prose is luminous with wit and intelligence.

Why does any of this matter, you may well ask. The short answer is that it makes wine so much more colourful, expansive and interesting; that it shows wine had had and continues to have a way of coaxing the muse and stimulating intellectual curiosity; that it is so much more than just an alcoholic drink.