Connecting Art to Wine, Before Even Tasting the Wine
I’ve wine samples to taste; a lot of samples to taste. Life just backs up the volume, as I work on balancing every to-do. At my present age, my grandmother… and then my mother… were taking long naps during the day. I’m not sure what’s happened in this day and age, but naps aren’t even a luxury. They don’t exist. So, I’m navigating new territory of how to live well, when my elders used to check out for a good part of the day, and didn’t even seem to check back in for the rest of it…
Seeing this house, while searching for something else… The House at Rueil, by Edouard Manet… made me want to go through the wine collection; and, not be thinking about what arrived first, so then (and only then) I will find the art to match it. I’m going to flip the switch. I’m going into new territory, so the joie de vivre takes on new meaning.
I’ve been blogging since 2002. I’ve written over 3,000 stories. By this time, I need new inspiration… I think I may have found a new trigger, at least for this moment.
First of All
Credit for this painting’s current whereabouts:
- External link: Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
- Copyrights: Text: © Prestel Verlag / Alte Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Photo: © b p k – Photo Agency / Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin / Jörg P. Anders
- Collection: Nationalgalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
The color and warmth of this house is what first attracted me. I needed to find a sample that would be as evocative:
- image ~ label design needs at least some of these colors
- memory ~ my parents painting my grandmother’s Victorian a soft yellow, before they moved in (and then took naps)
- feelings ~ enticingly light, breezy, and lovely
But, will a wine hold up to all of that as a first thought, rather than being the afterthought? Let’s see how this one evolved.
Off to Search Through the Wine Collection
IMAGE: Started with the cream color, so red and white both worked.
MEMORY: Next came the bit of Burgundy. Narrowing it even more.
FEELINGS: Sweating in the summer sun, while tasting lemonade, made by my grandmother…
When all was considered and the wines had been pulled for not having exactly the right “it,” I did succeed in finding a match. (I do know all of the wines I pulled have “it,” with another piece of art work, though, yet to be determined.)
Chosen strictly as a process of elimination in the realm of the wine label matching a painting, I’m very pleased with the final selection of a Domaine Bousquet. The culture of the painting and the winery of Domaine Bousquet both have a French lineage. My Bernier/Ouellette grandparents home had many French touches as well. I can connect so many dots. Perhaps my French DNA played a role?
So, where is The House at Rueil actually located?
Edouard Manet’s fascination with the effects of light and colour was constantly renewed as he took in the myriad impressions of the infinitely varied world around him. His portrayal of the house just outside Paris belonging to his host, the poet Eugène Labiche, was in no way intended as a faithful view. Instead he restricted himself to a section of the facade, like a detail, much in the style of Japanese woodcuts. It is not possible to take in the house as a whole, both because of the limited view and because of the tree trunk that calculatedly cuts through the aedicule and thus through the functional and aesthetic center of the house, heightening the viewer’s attention and fascination. While the facade is bathed in blazing sunlight, one can nevertheless sense the cooling shade cast by the crown of the tree up above the top edge of the picture. One also senses that there is a slight breeze causing the patches of light to gently shift their position. “A blithe spirit has created this picture with consummate skill” (Hugo von Tschudi) — skill that is evident in the finely balanced play of colours, the powerful contrasts of red and green, and the restrained resonance of tones of yellow and blue.
The blue of the house isn’t represented anywhere here, and just as an FYI – Blue is perhaps one of the few colors used on a label, so the violet takes care of having one of the final shades in the color spectrum, and what I finalized as the winner of this experiment. Still, I wanted to know… WHERE was this house?
Finding this actual location was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but I persisted. While the house belonged to poet Eugène Labiche, it looks like Manet was there to recover from maladies, where he painted the gardens around the house.
From: La SOCIÉTÉ HISTORIQUE DE RUEIL-MALMAISON
Manet and his wife Suzanne, were spending a period in this small village, just west of Paris.
Unlike Giverny, where the garden was the artist’s creation, the Manets were renting… [Eugène Labiche‘s] house in the hope of improving Edouard Manet’s health.
It doesn’t seem to have been a particularly congenial location for Manet, although he produced a number of paintings of the house and garden and of his wife.
The village was small and quiet, consisting of a number of different squares. There was little company for the sociable Manet although his sojourn at 18, Rue de Chateau was meant to provide him with rest.
You wouldn’t sense from the painting, that Rue de Chateau was a narrow cobbled lane, with no chateau to be seen, and that the house had a small garden.
~ The Wine I Ultimately Found ~
2019 DOMAINE BOUSQUET SAUVIGNON BLANC
- French family, French wine – check!
- Variety from France’s Bordeaux – check!
- The flavor as welcoming as what I wanted to replicate with this simply delicious view – check!
DOMAINE BOUSQUET is a favorite wine brand for me. I got to meet Anne Bousquet – Al Ameri, who’s a brilliant young woman, a second generation member of this hard working Bousquet family. When she came to California, we had a delicious lunch and time together at Barn Diva in Healdsburg. Her wines matched our menu selections perfectly. The quality of the wines are fabulous, the price is a true value… If the price were to rise, I wouldn’t bat an eyelash, and would happily pay the price, because it would STILL be a great bargain.
- HEART ~ WINERY ~ From the winery
- In the early 1990’s, Anne’s father Jean Bousquet visited Tupungato, Argentina. Four generations of winemaker history, Jean arrived from Carcassonne, located in southern France. He was searching for exceptional terroir, in order to start a new winery. By 1997, a parcel of land was purchased and the family relocated from France to the foothills of the Andes, when Jean had sold his southern France vineyard and winery property. The land he purchased in Tupungato, was completely developed, with no wineries anywhere to be seen. This is land in the Uco Valley. [For perspective, Tupungato is an hour south of Mendoza City.]
- SCIENCE ~ WINEMAKING ~ From the winery
- Domaine Bousquet’s premium varietal series comprises a blend of estate and purchased fruit from the Uco Valley. The grapes benefit from major diurnal temperature swings, achieving exuberant ripeness while retaining the juiciness that invites a second glass. The wines are vinified with a French sensibility. The wines are un-oaked – an on-trend sensibility of little or no oak to let the fruit shine through and make the wines extremely food-friendly. This wine is100% Sauvignon Blanc, cold macerated to extract aromas and flavors, and is fermented in stainless steel tanks.
- SOUL ~ Jo’s notes
- The pure pleasure of this 2019 Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc, from Mendoza Argentina, tasted on a 90 degree day just as summer arrived, was so refreshingly delightful. Not only did I satisfying my adventure of finding the right wine to match a piece of artwork (versus the other way around), but the Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc also quenched my thirst on a hot summer’s day. This Sauvignon Blanc is in perfect balance and harmony, as is this Edouard Manet painting, which delivered its statement of well-balanced, visual art.
- Domaine Bousquet’s wines are liquid art, and so very easy to enjoy.
Trying any of the Domaine Bousquet wines is liquid art realized. This 2019 Domaine Bousquet Sauvignon Blanc over delivered, per usual.