All that wine-tasters’ lingo about bouquet and tasting of tires or leather, not a patch on Keats’ description of the effects of good wine sipped in an arbour on a summer evening.  Keats is at least as good a letter-writer as he is a poet, and his playfulness and zest for life come alive in them.  Quaff this quotation in full below, and enjoy.

Source: John Keats, Selected Letters, ed. Robert Gittings (Oxford World Classics, 2002/2009), p. 201

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‘If you could make some wine like Claret to drink on summer evenings in an arbour!  For really ‘t is so fine – it fills the mouth with a gushing freshness – then goes down cool and feverless – then you do not feel it quarrelling with your liver – no it is rather a Peace maker and lies as quiet as it did in the grape – then it is as fragrant as the Queen Bee; and the more ethereal Part of it mounts into the brain, not assaulting the cerebral apartments like a bully in a bad house looking for his trul and hurrying from door to door bouncing against the waist-coat; but rather walks like Aladin about his own enchanted palace so gently that you do not feel his step.’

(14 February – 3 May 1819)


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