Thursday, June 14, 2012

Le avventure di Ginocchio

"Canta pure, Grillo mio, come ti pare e piace"

Dining out the other night, we ordered a wine, a simple Rosso di Montepulciano. The server tussled with the cork, but eventually expunged it. On first sniffing the wine and then sampling it, I thought it had an ever-so-slight trace of corkiness. But it was so minute I chalked it up to watching the server struggle with the cork and imagined some sort of transference.

A few minutes into it though, the funk appeared to be magnifying. And then it vanished, only to pop up and disappear a few times. It wasn’t that the wine was bad, but the wine was making itself a larger part of the meal than it needed to be. All of this going through my head as other things were going on around the table. Little monkey-brain chatter, “This wine isn’t right.” “Stop griping and enjoy the experience.” “But something’s wrong.” “Shut up and let me enjoy the meal and company.” This mad little dialogue endured until the cloud drifted away sometime before desserts appeared.


The wine was wounded, but not so much that it was disabled. Like a bad knee. Sure, one couldn’t do a marathon with it, but a fast walk around the block could be managed.

Wine isn’t perfect. There is no ultimate experience, no "awesome beyond belief" crap - none of the usual throw-away words to mask the reality. Like humanity, wine is flawed.

At home, my wine closet lately appears more to me like a hospital. In one corner is the emergency room. On the rack there are wines that are in good health but are aging. In a box on the floor are old wines from a region not known for wine. They are more like artifacts from an archeological dig. Probably more dead than alive, my little wine morgue. On one wall are wines I have no idea what to do with anymore. Some of the wines are senile, some have gone crazy, some just out of balance, shaky Parkinsonians of the wine world. There is an area where the wines are too young, preemies, but not sure how they will grow up. And then there are some who are just there for the spa treatment, nothing wrong with them, they just want to be pampered and assured. We are drinking those up. Actually we are sampling all the types in my little wine closet hospital. Even ones with wounded knees.

Learning to live with those flaws is how one best approaches a life (or a wine) that isn’t so “awesome” and makes peace with that which one is faced with.” How one makes peace with the life one is given. You can’t score a life on a 1-100-point scale; it is constantly changing, evolving. Sometimes devolving. Same with wine. Today it’s a 95, tomorrow a 79. What sense does it make to assign numerical value? Is 100 perfect enough, anyway?

No, wine isn’t perfect. But it is an adventure. All the mischievous little wines we encounter, like our fellow humans. Some very important. Some shy. Some well. Some sick. One doesn’t abandon a friend because they have an incurable disease, does one? Well, actually some folks do. I know of several fellows in the business that left their wives after the women contracted multiple sclerosis.

So the little wounded wine we had the other night on top of the world, it stayed on the table, we emptied it, drank it, and celebrated its short life and long voyage from Italy to America.


P.S. I’m taking time off from the blogosphere for routine maintenance. Will put up a few of my favorite posts from the last year or so. Back in the saddle in a week or so.



2 comments:

Giacomo said...

An excellent sentiment.

To truly enjoy wine requires a certain amount of generosity. The wine taster can be critical but the wine drinker must to be generous. To be able to appreciate a wine for what it is despite its imperfections is a wonderful thing.

Samantha Dugan said...

Absolutely agree. Enjoy your down time and we will be waiting when you return.

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