Sunday, February 13, 2022

This Just In! Wine is Generational...

…as well as regenerational

So, I’ve been looking at this parade from the sky box, of late, and it has eventually dawned on me why there is an endless cacophony among wine lovers. It wasn’t something that snuck up on me. No, it has been there all the time. It was there when I was just starting out. I was just too inexperienced (or immature) to notice it. It is definitely there now. That it is misapprehended by young and old (and I am sure this is the reason), has to do with the interstellar effluvium that our galaxy sailed through in 2016, causing roughly half the people on Earth to think one way, and the other half to think in exact opposition to their contrary counterparts.

All conjecture aside, seriously, it hit me like a bolt of lightning. I was sitting outside with a friend, enjoying a glass of wine (or two), and there it was, simply laid out like tomorrow’s clothes. Wine changes, but the generation that observes and experiences it, changes what wine is, too. Just think about one wine, Port, and how, right now, it really isn’t that popular. But if I were to be stranded on an island, it could be my go-to wine. Probably a tawny.

Wait. What? Port on an island? “Did that interstellar puff of gas shake up your brain, AC?” I know one of you might be thinking that.

Well, it’s just an aside, but think about it. You’re stranded. Might not have a wine opener. The heat might be a factor. And because of the climate, you might need a wine that the heat won't screw up, too much. And you might need the nutrition a wine provides. And my vote would be a tawny Port. In this moment.

But you ask someone 40 years younger and you’ll probably get a whole different answer.

I’m not going to presume to know what that answer would be, if wine would even be part of the equation of what one would have if they were 30 and stranded on an island.

But generationally, those kinds of examples would differ among folks of different ages, might they not?

So, it could be fairly easy to imagine, in a less extreme situation, how a 30-year-old might consider what wine really ticks their box. Gets their attention. Hits their pleasure button. You feel me?

I mean, here we all are, debating what’s cool, what’s in, what’s supreme and what’s not. And we’re all coming at it from such different points in time and space. Does it not seem a little absurd that we even argue about it? Natural or concocted. Orange or not-orange. Red or white. Light rosé or dark rosé. Oaked or unoaked. Spoofulated or unspoofulated.

I’m going to take a trip in the way-back machine, to umm, 1975. I’m in my 20’s and standing in a Trader Joe’s in South Pasadena. I have $3 and I want to try a wine. I see a French wine, a Vouvray, for $2.99. I buy it and head up the hill to home. On the way I stop at my little health food store and buy some raw cheese and some sturdy wheat bread.

I still remember that experience. I recall what that wine tasted like. Cold, icy cold, as it was a warm day in Altadena. The wine was flowery in the bouquet and crisp in the flavors. We’d say today, nice acidity. And good fruit. It was remarkable in that it made a good impression and set me on a journey, among other wines, that led to here.

This week, a wine from Germany, an Ayler Kupp. Much more than $2.99. and refined, so very refined. But the impression it made wasn’t that much different than that Vouvray did, I don’t know, how long ago was it? 47 years ago?  (Wow, that was a quick journey!)

There was cheese, and a charcuterie plate this time (no longer vegetarian, sorry). And the bread was focaccia. But the big change in the scenario, from 1975 to 2022, was in the galactic longitude of this attestant.

Look, in 45 years, one will have traveled almost 200 billion miles in our solar system, around our galactic center. Considering most of the time we’re all sitting on our asses (or laying on our backs), that’s a hell of a ride!

So, when we get all caught up in our minutiae, about this little thing or that, think about how cool it is that we aren’t flying off the face of the planet, what with all the speed we’re going at. And if someone doesn’t like a wine you or I like, or we don’t like a wine someone else likes, so what? In the grand scheme of things, it really doesn’t matter that much.

It's about time.

And in the time it took to write this, I’ve found is that even though it is probably very practical to take along a case of tawny Port, when one is abandoned to a desert island, I’d really rather have a mixed case of Champagne, Burgundy, riesling, sangiovese, sylvaner, and so on. I’ll figure out how to open them, keep them cool, and safe from the monkeys and the humidity. I promise.

And most likely, by the time I’m rescued from that island, the next generation will untie this Gordian knot and make it all clear to whomever is watching and listening.

What I’ve found, the little nugget of unobtanium we all search for in wine, is when a wine really sings, when it is “piacevole,” as my young friend Roger calls it. And when that happens, time stops. I’m no longer 70. Or 30. It’s an exhilarating rip in the fabric of time. Regenerating. And that is when I understand how the ancients ascribed wine to something of another world, a transcendent experience. Food of the(ir) gods. I get it. totally.

wine blog +  Italian wine blog + Italy W

1 comment:

Michael Vickery said...

Alfonso, you truly have a keen ability to articulate a position with the written word. Well done! You also have the ability to filter your thoughts through a filter of decades of life to see what passes through the filter to the other side. Equally well done. Thanks for sharing.


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