Would you dump me as your favorite scampish wine gal if I told you that, in a tasting on Tuesday of some very beautiful and expensive Burgundies, my favorite by a large margin was the Fleurie, a mere Beaujolais?
I’m sorry, I tried to like the more expensive, silky, elegant, perfumed premier crus better, but I just didn’t. I appreciated them, I enjoyed them, I lauded them, I recognized them, but if I had to go home with any of those sexy bottles, it would have been with the lowly Fleurie. Because it was fun and pleasurable and it was so bright I almost had to shade my eyes from the fruit.
As I agonized over this fact (one I had difficulty admitting to in the first place, knowing from extensive research What I Should Have Preferred), it got me to thinking about literature. If you only know me through the medium of this blog, you do not know how much I enjoy reading. I have a BA in English, I was an English Lit teacher, and I’ve depended on books for an embarrassing amount of pleasure and companionship in my life. (Embarrassing not in quantity, but in ratio to other pleasures.) I appreciate great literature. I love discussing metaphor and foreshadowing and themes and shit with other bibliophiles. But what I mostly read, and I read about 8-10 books a month, is not literature by any stretch of the imagination.
Now, I don’t read romance novels or Elizabeth George or James Patterson, so don’t be harshin’. I do have a penchant, inherited from my father, for well written sci-fi/fantasy and mystery novels, and that makes up about 75% of what I read on a day-to-day basis. My book club is good for getting me out of my ruts, for which I am grateful. Sometimes I pick up an old favorite, like Vanity Fair or Pride and Prejudice or Kingsolver’s The Bean Trees. When I do read great works of literature, I usually enjoy them and invariably appreciate the art in them, but I just don’t dine daily on Fitzgerald and Nabokov.
So when I think about how my appreciation for a well-made wine sometimes does not mean I actually enjoy said wine, it reminds me of Hemingway. You know how it is with Hemingway: you’re awed by his crystalline prose, you understand how he re-shaped fiction… but once you’ve read A Farewell to Arms once, you see no reason to go back there.
I’m comfortable with dissing the writers, but something in me still cringes to admit that I do not drink highly-structured reds for fun. See, even I buy into that wine intimidation scene, that fictional world in which you’re supposed to love to drink something because some “Expert” says it’s good, just a little bit.
I love tasting new wines, and I love tasting stuff that I know is highly regarded, because I really am interested in closing the gap between the rhetoric I read and the wines I experience. But frankly, I’ll choose to drink a top-quality Beaujolais or rich, fruit-bomb Syrah over some Napa Cab that the Speculum gave 302 points, any day of the week. And twice on Sunday.
Now you know the whole truth. If you choose not to let me go, I’ll tell you about my super-ca-duper interesting Burgundy tasting tomorrow.