Sunday, February 28, 2016

Life without wine

Inside the glass, this hurdling liquid, rushing into all the empty crevices, seeming to fulfill a need to order the world around us as expressed in love of wine. But are there those times when wine can be in the way, even a toxic element? Life without wine could be a scenario for more and more of us as we age.

I say this now having been free of wine for over a week now. Not because I don’t like wine, but because a recent health condition caused me to stop partaking of alcohol. I currently have a profusion of chemicals careening around my system: steroids, antibiotics, morphine, iodine, aspirin, ibuprofen. Alcohol is just one more toxic substance to me right now.

Odd, because I wax about wine on the posts of this blog, for years now. And then, something happens; a window opens to a new perspective and all of a sudden it’s a whole new day. Will I ever go back? Will wine have the hold on me that it does for so many of my colleagues? I know I can live without wine, easily. I do not crave it. I see friends of mine, who have to "get their drink on", have to have one more glass of wine at the end of the night. For some time now I have been thinking about alcohol poisoning. I’ve had this mechanism inside me, when I have been in a group and the bottles were opening and wine was flowing and I just had had enough. “What, don’t you want to try this bottle of 1964 Carema?” a friend would ask. “I think my body has had enough,” I would reply. And I meant it.

The last quarter of 2015 really kicked me hard, work-wise. I hit it hard, worked to make some crazy goals, made some ridiculous deals. Brought in the numbers.

And then 2016 kicked, and along with it with a hectic travel schedule. Too much. Traveling sick. Always on an airplane, always around someone who wasn’t as well as they should have been, someone sneezing, sniffling, sloughing off skins cells into the contained atmosphere of the time bombs planes have become. It was inevitable. And it got me. And went to my weak spot.

I say this not for sympathy or concern. I am on the mend and I will return to full health. It wasn't like a stroke or a heart attack or some incurable cancer. Nothing like that. More like exhaustion, not paying attention to the signs around me, pushing myself too hard. And letting alcohol, wine that is, control the process. Making it more important than it is in the scheme of things.

We see it in our encapsulated world. We praise the sommelier community for their fortitude and courage. We encourage (and often criticize) wine writers when they offer up their perspectives. We pour over tasting notes and Instagram shots of incredible tasting events, one in a life time. Galloni and Suckling have these major gala events where people come and bring their prized processions and slave over them, fawning, touching, sharing. Not a bad thing in the abstract. But has this fetishizing - this process - has it become more important than living?

Coming out of the fog I found myself in this past few weeks, I realize that balance , not only in wine, but in life, is more important than acid, than minerality, than fruit, or wood, or expression or concentration. Too much of a good thing is just that – too much.

Nothing above me – nothing below me – no leaping. Not yet. Just a time to rebalance. For now.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W


David said...

Wishing you the best. Glad that you are able to give yourself the space you need to recover.

For someone who lives to eat (and drink wine with it), your post was sobering. In a good way. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Thankful as always you are writing... Your sentiments and thoughts are spot-on and much appreciated, from another wine-person.

Marco Benigni said...

You being a dancer might like to know that "balançer" in the creole patois of Guadeloupe-Martinique means to swing or dance. Maybe you (and I) should do more dancing. Not with each other. With women who know how to sway like the palms in the alizé.
Norwegian Airlines just began direct flights to those islands from NYC last fall. It might be just what you need. It beats the heat and humidity in Dallas coming your way soon.

thomas tucker said...

Of course, it was Mae West, I think, who said that too much of a good thing, is wonderful. But I don't think that's true when there's a piper to pay for overindulgence. I like this post very much, and understand what you are saying. Here's hoping that when the chemicals/drugs are out of your system, you'll have a renewed, and better, appreciation of good wine.

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