Sunday, January 09, 2022

The man who drank only one wine his whole life

It would be love at first sight. Deliciously dry with a keenness. It wouldn’t take itself too seriously. Vivacious and often mysterious. Ever changing, but constant and certain. And it would go with everything, and in every moment. In other words, it was the perfect mate of a wine. And it was going to be the only wine he would ever need, or ever drink, in his lifetime.

So it was, that I happened to spend an afternoon, at lunchtime, with the man who only drank one wine his whole life.

I had so many questions for him: How did you arrive at only having one for your whole life? Did you ever want to taste another one? What was it like, over the years, drinking only one wine? Questions abounded. I didn’t know if one lunch would be long enough to find out, even a long lunch. But I was intrigued.

We met at a little spot in between our homes. He brought a selection of wines, all the same one. Different years, but singular in their particularity. Red. Italian. One grape. One region. The only deviation was for the different makers.

The following is an excerpt from our lunch, which my cohort generously allowed me to record. We’ll call him Angelo Pastore.      

Q: So, Angelo, how did this singular passion of yours come about?

AP: Well, AC, it happened very early in my life, almost before I was legal. I’d had an interest in the tipple, as any young man of my time had. But I was really interested in pursuing something deeper and longer-lasting than a soused fling. I wanted to settle down early. Maybe it was premonitory. I just knew, early on, what I wanted and what I was looking for.

Q: And how did you arrive on this one wine so early?

AP: I got really lucky. This one had everything I was looking for. Great body. Vigorous. The potential for long aging. I’d say longevity was really a bonus, seeing it now from this side of time. But I was really struck by the simplicity and gob-smacking beautifulness of this one. It was love at first sight, for me.

Q: Did you try any others?

AP: I took a few sips early on, but nothing seemed to get a rise out of me like the one I chose. I was hooked.

Q: Have you ever wanted to try any other ones, since?

AP: Look, I won’t bullshit you. There is always a new wine that vies for one’s attention. And in my life, they’ve tried. Oh, they’ve tried. But I couldn’t imagine anything better than what had already mesmerized me at such an early age. I tell you; I was really fortunate to come upon this one - the only one for me.

Q: Readers might have a hard time wrapping their head around drinking only one wine for a lifetime, what with all the choices out there in the greater world. What would you say to that?

AP: People live in one town their whole life, or one country. They work at one profession, or one job. I don’t see how hard it is to understand that. In my case, what I uncovered in a lifetime of pursuing, and loving, one, is how in-depth, how deep it took me into the understanding of one thing. It’s as if I discovered another universe inside my pursuit of the one. Every day is a revelation. I’m constantly learning something different inside of my little macrocosm. I’ve tried every year, most of the makers, at different times of the year and in different places, and at all hours. I do not feel like I’ve missed out on anything in your greater world out there. I’m completely fascinated with my self-imposed circumscription. There’s no pain, only joy.

Q: It kinda sounds like you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, compadre. Tell us, what have you learned from so many years of in-depth commitment to the one wine?

AP: Well, it might sound like that. But let me pose this to you: You see people who are always trying the next new thing. Fizzy stuff. Orange stuff. Natural or not. From all countries, all colors, all shapes, all sizes, all flavors. It’s like many of you out there can’t land on anything for more than the life cycle of a gnat.

I’ve taken a different path. It may seem like a well-trodden one, or maybe even to some, a rut. But what I have uncovered in my singular quest has been nothing short of glorious. I cannot tell how many times I’ve been surprised, amazed and downright beholden to have been shown this way. I cannot imagine doing my life any other way. I feel like I have found the key to all of this searching, exploration, longing even, in this simple way. I have found complexity. I have found mystery. I have found true love. How many of your readers can say that about the trip they’ve taken, with the multitudes? Huh? 

Tell me.

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