By: Mike Madigan
Wine: local Sonoma County blend. Occasion: I want to drink it. Often times, too much is made of wine. Itʼs plainly, blatantly, over-thought. You open whatever bottle you want. Thatʼs how it should be. Thatʼs my “cellar philosophy.” This industry, unarguably run by consumers. And we, as the consumers, pushing “the industry” into its profitable future, need to not be shy with our penchants, habits, standing up to the self-elevating, the name hogs, the loudness. Another sip, asking mySelf, “Should I have waited to open this?” It may have benefited from a little more cellar time, yes. But what harm was done? I learned. And frankly, Iʼm enjoying where this three-varietal spin is, in its incunabulum– How it connects with me, right now, in this moment, the one I ordered.
Canʼt tell you how many people Iʼve met, while in “the industry,” that simply love to hear themselves talk. They canʼt wait to tell you whatʼs in their cellar, how MANY bottles they have, and then compare it to what people around them have, eager to one up anyone offering opinion. Is this wine? Is this what wineʼs dimension demands? Is this a wine moment? No, to all. Thereʼs no wine in it. These character types scalpel out the consumer, the sincerely ardent wine lover. Closed in their mind, closing out all around them, those open to hearing othersʼ experiences, trying other wines. What do these self-knighted grape sages get from their perceived ascension? They get themselves, their vision of themselves. Reflection… Them. Theyʼre not thinking about wine. At all. Their interest is them, their voice, their cellar, their shockwaving trump show.
And here I am, writing about them. Which, you could argue, serves simply a time waste. It is, youʼre right. But I just had to note it, somewhere. We, the open sippers, enjoy all associated with wine– from the vineyard, to the harvest, crushing, coldsoaking, yeast inoculation, oak regiments, aging, racking, blending trials, bottling strategy. Itʼs the wine that turns us into such fortified fervency. How is any eminence associated with something so Human, so universal as wine (which is, after all, merely a beverage). And mine, what Iʼm sipping between types, evermore enrapturing. And it was opened prematurely, by ME. A mistake of which Iʼm inexorably proud, as itʼs part of THIS wine moment. I learned. Its imperfection is what makes it perfect. And if not perfect, then holistically Human.
Now: content. Why: the moment, the wine with which Iʼve it paired. Maybe I should have some sort of cellaring philosophy, but not right away. If I want to open a bottle, I open it. Iʼm just a consumer. But that doesnʼt mean I canʼt learn more, maybe develop some level of “sophistication,” IF I want to. And I donʼt. This, Wine, not “the industry,” is about love. LOVE, of wine. Of those loving wine, simply enjoying the moments associated with it. Need another glass. Donʼt know if I can discipline myself, in grips of this now-written sight, to close bottle.