Friday, March 09, 2007

Agreeable and unadorned wine. For life.

Sitting at a small French bistro, the server pours a glass of white wine to accompany a bowl of lentil soup.
Winter is being edged out by spring but the broth is welcome in its warmth and fullness. Five, maybe ten minutes, pass before I’m even aware that I have sipping on this glass of white Bordeaux, a 2005 Chateau Ducasse Blanc from Kermit Lynch.

To drink a wine and not have it seem outside of oneself, to feel it so integrated in the plan of one’s life that it is like breathing itself, an unconscious act. But not comatose.

This was an epiphany, something that has been happening more frequently. It is happening with regularity, not with just Italian wines, but California, French and who knows what next.

A glass of wine should be seamless; part of the core of one’s being, in my field. How can we communicate that to folks in the trade and more, wine drinkers, diners, everyday people in everyday situations?

In a way that’s what folks do when they drink a beer, like a Budweiser or a glass of white Zinfandel, like Beringer or Sutter Home. And while it isn’t the same thing, exactly, we in the wine industry and wine lovers alike can take a lesson from the beer drinkers and white Zin lovers.

Whoa. Heresy. Common experiences we are now evangelizing? Bringing it down a notch, eh? Yeah, down to earth.

I’m not saying to emulate a zombie from Night of the Living Dead. Not that. But what if we do see this wine thing as not so sacred, not too precious, what if we come upon a reckoning that sees wine in this integrated, without-effort part of one’s life?

My God, then we’d be French. Or Italian. The dreaded European.

Our Hummer-Bigger-Better culture would be morphing into an emerging-food-and-wine loving one. That might bother the neocons and secular-progressives alike. Wouldn’t that be fun?

I’m looking forward to more such experiences. This past week in Houston I have learned more about Italian wine from tasting French wine than I did tasting Italian wine. You heard me. Two of my Italo-phile friends here have ventured into deep French territory. Have we lost the two Antonio’s to the Gallic sirens? Has the Po river been supplanted by the Loire? Has the Castello lost its slot in favor of a run down Chateau-not-so-neuf?

Is there a difference in the people and the wines?

That’s really what I see. There isn’t a difference between what Joly is doing versus Gravner. Sure it’s a different bee hive, and yes, the honey tastes a little different. But they’re kindred souls. But that’s another story for another day.

Just something to think about, instead of or the latest Gambero Rosso 3 glass extravaganza.

Agreeable and unadorned wine. For life.


enrico said...

hi did you know about this?
Wine from Mount Etna

i'd like if you tell me what do you think
bye enrico

Travel Italy said...

IWG - While all know that I am unashamedly biased in favor of Italian wines I must say that I have found some very interesting white Bordeaux recently.

The passion of wine, of quality workmanship and quality base elements should not be exclusive to one region. Perhaps even our Hummer at the 10$ a cup coffee shop environment will allow space for those who believe in quality over quantity.

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