It has been tough to find writing time these past few weeks, as making a living has gotten in the way of my passion for writing and wine. I know that some people actually make a living writing blogs, but somehow that just doesn’t seem right to me. It would then become work and less of a labor of love. In any case, this week I am just putting some random thoughts on paper and hope that they will create enough interest and enjoyment to keep my readers coming back.
Why do so many of us love wine? Certainly it creates a sense of relaxation and stress release, but it must be more. I’ve been drinking wine (legally) for over 45 years and it has run the gamut from the Boones Farm and Annie Green Spring of my youth to my most cherished 1963 Fonseca Ports and just about everything in between. Admittedly some times it’s just to have something in my hand while I stand at an otherwise boring social function or charity event, but lately it has been about learning and understanding the juice of so many different grapes. This week I experienced another step in my personal wine journey; I tasted my first Grenache Blanc — Mutiny on the Bonny Arroyo Seco, by Randall Grahm. So why did I find it noteworthy enough to write about, it’s just another white wine right? Well actually it’s not, but it created a really new adventure for me. It came from a different grape than I had ever experienced. Most of the time when I taste a new wine it’s a new winemakers version of a varietal I am familiar with and I focus on what makes it unique from all the others in the varietal class it shares. In this case I am getting a whole new taste and set of characteristics to focus on.
When I first opened the bottle I found myself trying to put it in my usual set of pigeonholes. Did it taste like Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Moscato or even a Riesling? not until I stopped comparing it did I really get to focus on the unique characteristics of this grape. To be honest it was different enough that I first had to decide whether I liked it, or whether that even mattered. In the end I decided I did, but it didn’t as I had just embarked on a new tasting experience. Now I get to seek out other Grenache Blancs and then I’ll be able to get into comparing, but until I do I get to focus on learning about the grape, the wine that it produces and it’s unique characteristics and challenges. For me this is part of my love of wine, the adventure of discovery and appreciation. I began to understand that my love of wine mimics my reality, a love of learning and trying new things. I also remembered some life lessons that may have faded to the back of my consciousness in the “hurry up” pace of lie today.
In a world where everything has become one size fits all and sound bites, sometimes we need to stop and reflect on a few of the details. Yes, Mutiny on the Bonny Arroyo Seco is a white wine, just like my old 1960 Rambler Super is a car or my home is just a house, but the comparison stops there. I get letters at the office every day and some I simply file in the “Correspondence In”, while others I put into matter specific or person specific files. How do I make those decisions and why. It seems more and more it gets to be reactive rather than decisive. I am in a hurry and I need to get the paper off my desk or more likely my e-mail out of my “in-box”. With my wine, I find that I am doing the same thing too frequently, but when I stop and “smell the bouquet” so to speak, the experience is more fun and the wine actually tastes better. I think wine, for me, replicates life or perhaps wine replicates wine. There are so many out there to taste and experience that I will never run out of opportunities to learn and enjoy. Why do I always tend to default back to the ones I know I like? Simply, I don’t need to think about it, I know I like it so I can just drink it and be done with it.
I guess the point of my ramblings comes down to a need to slow down and realize that we have so many opportunities to experience life or taste a new and different wine. Life is finite and the opportunities endless, so slow down and make decisions to try new things and yes, new varieties of wine. Life will be fuller, your brain will be challenged and you will grow from the new experiences. Even if you discover that the something new is not to your liking, now you know and it helps you move forward on this wonderful life journey we all make, separately and together.
Try a new wine and then walk a different path, I promise you will learn something new.
So very true Robert! Michael and I have both learned to reach out and try new and different wines. And have also learned the enjoyment of slowing down to detect every bit of character and taste we as novice wine drinkers can. Though going back to something we are familiar with sits well for those evenings when you just don’t want to think. The types of wines we’ve tried in the past year really amazes us…never thought we would be ordering cases of Chardonnay or falling in love with an Albariño! Let alone, after a second try, finally finding the greatness in Jim Olsens Sweet Angel Red! There are so many ways to experience wine, I’ve learned this from Naked Wines, with the help from “angels” and the winemakers themselves. You can say the same about life and the journey you decide to take…yes there are many paths to walk and many that should be walked upon! In my life I want to walk on as many as I can!
“By gosh, I think she’s got it” (paraphrasing Professor Higgins). I really believe that experiencing wine as it should be is a perfect metaphor for life. You either stay in your comfort zone and miss opportunities or you takes some risks, try some new things and blossom.