if I could have time in a bottle
It has been a few days since I have had a chance to put paper to pen again and shape an idea or two into any form of digestible discourse. I have been on the trail of new wines for the site, visiting vineyards, this time in Napa and Sonoma valleys. I promise you, I not only found plenty of good wines to present to the team (and should hit the site once samples land our way!) but some great conversations were had while tasting which will add some interesting content to the blog shortly. In returning now to the keyboard, I first decided to give C’s last post a quick re-read before moving on. It struck a cord in me suddenly and I thought I should mention my reaction. Maybe it is a case of stating the obvious, but lets throw it out there.
I think without knowing it, C presented a magical quality of wine that we all have connection to in some way. Some are more acutely attuned and thus their addiction to the stuff, but even the dabbler knows this to be true. Pardon if I get professorial a moment. Wine, if seen on the whole, is a profound form of living art, akin to literature, film, and closer to more tangible forms such as painting, sculpture and architecture. I defend this as it is surely a translation, a personal expression guided from a naturally grown substance into a dynamic being, a liquid story. It takes raw materials and through a intentional series of questions and answers, arrives at a presentation, completely subjective and ripe for criticism. One man’s wine is not for everyone.
If we agree on this then, likewise, wines share the capacity with all high art forms to cement an exact place in history, referencing the entire complexity of our relationship to an era. It is a record of time. It can also be a timeless entity, fit for any occasion, across all cultures and maintaining itself through cycles of fashion. It lives on despite the world of change. Few things created by man have this potential to link the past and introduce the future. Wine is then, in essence, a TIME MACHINE in and of itself. We the drinkers tag along, both on the individual basis and as a one collective mass, hurling along while expanding our connection to nature (who, mind you, would make this stuff regardless of man’s tinkering) and the greater story of human experience.
Wow, where did that rubbish come from huh? You are thinking, obviously I had something stronger than wine before I sat to write this? Let this sink in though and I do not think it reads as much an intellectual thought as a natural observation. Hopefully I can articulate it well enough to defend my enthusiasm? I have this personal response when a chance to engage with wine is not met with full attention. Whether you loved, hated or dismissed it, there’s a chance to discover something more grand than a refreshed palate. It takes just a moment to consider. It is time well invested.
I heard something with my professional ears on, while riding along in C’s time machine back to the 80’s. Wine is an immediate reference. Recollections of things in our personal past come to mind whether we drink wine or read the expectations printed on the back of the bottle. Perhaps it is specific to the wine (I taste peaches and dried herbs) or something more tangential (that reminds me of a joke), the attempt to translate the moment forces the memory to serve us the closest definition, until a new tense of the “it” replaces or adds to the concept. We shape ourselves by our experiences, don’t we? So even if my wine recommendation makes C think of Kathleen Turner, we have added something to his wine knowledge by bridging a new gap. In essence, he moved back to move forward. The more we share about a wine, meaning the more we explore and talk it over, the more we have to relate to the next glass. Even if it is a laugh that brings it back. There is confusion of course, aligning meaning, whether my version of ‘peaches’ matches yours, yet we ultimately grow closer when we have a collective recollection. So wine forces us to form a new language (the prime goal of thewinearray!). Language could be said to be mimicry of a moment, transforming a series of actions or observations into a transportable object, or in other words, words. These are bits of wisdom to pass on when the experience repeats itself. So then, language itself has the effect of unifying our life as it develops over time. It connects us all to our past and in the moment. In this sense, when we drink memorable wine, wine we discuss, we share a past and travel along through the development of wine’s cultural history. By reacting to this, we create the future of wine. Trends, styles, methods of production, even growing interest and quality of consumption are all results of our passage through wine’s story. Considering my TIME MACHINE theory then, simply reflecting on wine while we drink it, we have visited the past and seen the future while living in the moment. Awesome stuff. Part of my love for all art in our culture.
There is more to add to wine as a record of the past. There is a history of wine dating back millennia. There are the stories of the people who grew the grapes world wide. Consider the age, moods and environments of the grower and wine maker and you could fill libraries. Happily we get to drink the books. Each vintage itself, with weather and crop variances, is a season suspended in liquid form. Then, there is the wine maker’s first taste, then the critic’s and merchants that bring it to market. There is your first taste. Wine does not exist without this history. And all of this collectively is what sets it off into the future. What will it be when we taste it again? Will it agree with its past and might we know more by the time we return to it that allows us to see its attributes more clearly? There is hope of its increased value, both as a return on investment and as hope for a delightful experience ahead.
The present is where I prefer to be. I like being the one to say, “remember when we tried this bottle the last time?”. This makes me pay attention all the more, loading the memory banks. I want to find words to pass along as wisdom. My wife argues that I am, to some degree, a wine idiot savant, as I can recall almost every wine we have shared together. I know I place more importance on it, but I can assure you it is without any more effort than say, C might place on recalling Kathleen Turner. Good or bad, it puts me somewhere and makes the ‘now’ better. I feel more connected. I hope too, that the mood is not fleeting, that the night will not push through the door quite so fast into tomorrow, when life takes over. Time slows. Someone trapped a story, painted a pretty picture, hah, made a liquid movie in this bottle. I will stop to watch and listen and discuss. After all, the more we drink, the better “time” we have.
Thanks C for the moment to reflect on this.