Was there ever time when one could think of wine as just something so natural, like the wind and the sun?
In the model of my perfect planet, wine is not a fantasy for the wealthy or the affluent. It is only a small part of the daily life, but an essential one.
In my perfect cellar, there are only a few wines, because most of the have already been opened and enjoyed.
Tonight I tasted a few Brunellos, 2001 and 1997. Both of them seemed ready to drink. In fact the 1997 was already on its way down. But the 2001 was just perfect. That would be for me the way I’d like it, not having to store a lot of wine, just a little and always on the lookout for another 3 or 4 bottles. Small footprint in consumption, but good, very good quality to keep searching for.
No need for special agents, near and far, to protect my personal interests. When it has gotten that the cars and the foods and the wines and the homes have exceeded their value, I can remember the early days when money was tight. But quality remained something worth seeking out, even if we had so little discretionary income.
It wasn’t a barren desert; there was the occasional oasis from which to draw from.
Then time and ambition and work starts to push everything back so far it’s hard to see the important, the essential, that which is important, friends and family, a simple life.
The fall from grace, the original sin of the wine trail, is to look too much for the defining moment in wine tasting and wine loving. There is a little of the narcissist in those who search only for the 98 point Brunello, shunning the lowly 91 or 92 pointer.
Italian wines that have a sense of the place they come from have less of a sense for their “point-worthiness.” Who cares?
Do you really think that wine is being made by a person who cares more for a review than their relationship with their plot of land, their earth? Yes, it takes more work and diligence, and yes it might not be a status symbol to order it at the hot new place in town. All the more reason to care about these kinds of wines.
Sure sometimes a wine, by virtue of its quality and the trajectory of its popularity, will become “cult.”
That is like the beautiful girl you knew in high school who went out west and made it in the movies. She no longer belongs to where she came from. Her new world has taken her into another ambience. Forget about her.
She won’t be at the table, nor will those wines, anymore.
Is it sad? A world one grows up in that seems foreign and unrecognizable? Or a world with mystery and new encounters, waiting for you to step on over into the secret corridor and launch into an interesting and fulfilling universe of discovery?