Sunday, February 07, 2021

the Immerging Wine Writer of the Year

During a recent communique with a wine writer friend, I noticed this person sounded just shy of despondent. Knowing that, of late, many of us are dealing with loss and disruption, I hesitated to press further. But the feeling kept circling like a kettle of vultures, just waiting for the prey down below to take its last breath. “Ok,” I said, “let it out. What the hell is bothering you?”

My friends gasped as if I wasn’t there having the conversation with them. “Oh my God, I talk to myself so often these days, I forgot you, or anyone, were actually there, listening.”

“And?” I pressed.

“I just hope when I die that I can be reincarnated as a young, Black female,” my friend said with an air of resignation that such a thing would never happen in this, or the next, life.

“Hey, you’ve got to get ahold of yourself,” I appealed to my downhearted colleague. “For one, if not now, when will it be their time?” referring to the habitants which this person so longed to be of. “You are none of those. But you are not without your own attributes. What you’ve done is allowed yourself to become immersed in a melancholy of lack and loss, getting all verklempt because you aren’t young and Black. But like those young souls must do, you (as we all) must also continuously prove your worth and your value, as you are. To put it in wine terms, if you are a village wine, you must be the best village wine you can be. If you are a Grand Cru, you better be damn good. Either way, not many folks want to drink a sour wine.”

“Yeah, yeah, I guess you’re on to something,” my doleful friend remarked. “I guess I better pull my head out of my ass and get back to chopping in the woodshed.”

I don’t know if my colleague will regain the confidence and edge needed to be a viable voice for the folks for whom wine writing is their cup of tea. Obviously, this person cares about being a “voice” in the wine world. It is a goal for some folks, I reckon.

Since I’ve climbed out of the work boat and set my tent up on the side of the river, I don’t have those same feelings and aspirations. Anyone who has followed these posts knows I am getting deeper into the trail of life and further from exclusively a wine trail. I love wine. I drink it often. I drink great wines, in fact, thanks to my friends and my penchant for squirreling away many great bottles when I was paddling along in the work boat. But it isn’t “everything” to me.

And that’s much of the reason why I am not reading as many, if any, wine related pieces anymore. I mean really, how many times do I need to hear the story of Franciacorta? Or read a treatise on the sub-zones of Chianti? I’ve read up enough about things like that. And anyway, the new stuff coming out just isn’t that good. So why are we “taking what precious little attention we have and diverting it toward something”  that isn’t enriching one’s life?   

What I really want to find is that person I call the immerging wine writer of the year. This year, or any year for that matter (if not, I’ll always have Gerald Asher to fall back on, thankfully). But what I am looking for, personally, is not someone trying to blind me with his brilliance (there are so many of them, aren’t there?). I would come away, when I read such things, like a rag that had been washed in dirty water and wrung out by hand. It didn’t elevate me. Oh, the pieces were brilliant, just ask the luminaries that wrote them. But I’m looking for something else.

I want to read someone who has truly immersed their soul into the subject, so much so that one doesn’t feel like they are reading an intricate treatise on malolactic or pH, but that one is hanging onto the tail of a kite in a mighty wind. I want a ride, even a wild one. One that will cause me to be breathless, not make me feel like an idiot.

There are those of us, out in the world, even those of us (horrible) older white males, who are still looking for someone to light their candle and cast a new effulgence upon a very old subject. It can be done, and hopefully someone (or some ones) are emerging as we hold-up in this all too uncommon time.

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