shedding light on perfect fruit
Right now, as I look out my window, there is an amazing light falling across everything. It is clear and fine. It seems to be giving added definition to tiny details that normally would go unseen. Everyone trapped in it seems to be happier, lifted, bright, smart. It is something to just to look at, the light itself, if that is even possible. I know I will not be able to give it justice in words. It seems to be also soft, full. It is rich. It no longer has the intensity we have grown accustomed to over the summer months. There is a change, a calm in its glow, a falling onto the concrete outside, quieting the bustle. Even the long shadows are peaceful and cooling, placid. It reminds me of my days in art school, when I first heard that Cezanne saw shadow to be truly blue. He took from the light something that offered a similar serenity in his paintings. Amazing how his patient eye could experience something so present yet hidden from most of us. Now, in this light, I can see it again. This is Cezanne’s light. It is late August, early evening, amazing.
In this light, it means one thing for me too, perhaps one of the highlights of the year. It is the beginning of the harvest season. Pick a fruit right now: peaches, apricots, cherries, plums, all things with stone pits, grapes, berries, even figs are all sticky, ripe and dripping with summer goodness. I think the summer light has done its job at getting the fruit to this delicious point of bursting, well past the tart-green crunchiness to a pliable tenderness that falls away from the stem and pit. The fruit is flavorful even from across the room, as it sits in a dish, scenting the air around my desk. It is fragrant and delicious time right now. So it made me think, as I look at this receding light, a light that seems to be sighing, that it is a perfect moment to highlight this time of season, particularly this quality of fruit, which is so darn good.
In deconstructing the palate as we have done on thewinearray, in the attempt to point out the few elements that can be assuredly found in every wine, I had to start with fruit. It is the easiest starting point because we all certainly know what fruit tastes like. And half the fun is playing the “I taste peaches… no I think its apples” game as we drink. That is the easy lead in. But when I say this, I mean the quality of fruit in which the flavors seem to be captured, the state in which they are held fast. It is almost easier to identify this if you think of it as seasonal references. Right now is the sweet spot. It is the moment of perfect ripeness. Fully tree-ripened and abundant in every market stand. Piled in bushels with fear of bruising. The sweet and the tart of the fruit are in perfect harmony; near the skin might be a touch tart while, the pit is hinting at bitter and in between is sugary, sticky glory. It can overload the senses but be the defining expression of what a perfect peach or plum or cherry may be. I think of it in handfuls, sloppy napkin-needed mouthfuls more than crunchy bites and clean slices. This is a quality of fruit ripeness that most of us love in wine.
We could say that it is the middle phase of a piece of fruit. It started, in Spring, green, bitter and tart in its early stages. If it ripens a bit, we may still enjoy it but for the crunch, the floral accents, the agitated tartness that forces a pucker of sorts. It may lack a bit of sweetness but it is clean and straight forward. On the other end, fruit can advance in ripeness to a changed state. We could process the fruit to something deeper, drier, jammier, concentrated and intensified. It would certainly be more advanced in the life cycle than the what we find now. It would be the fruit found in winter time, baked, cooked, scooped from a jar. Think of all the forms it can take as raisins, jellies, candies, pie fillings and sauces. That is for a later date. Right now we are in the smack-dab, lip-smaking center, begging us to taste more while it is perfection.
This is a 2 on the array scale.
So, I am not saying much more that what is obvious. Tis the season to eat the best of what is in season. Smell it, feel the weight and its plump suggestions. Devour it. Savory it. Try to resist eating another because it is just that good, right now. I just wanted to shed some light on the fact while you could run out and test the description in real physical form, lock it into memory and sip a few wines to find the same exuberance. Think riesling, muscats, pinots of all kinds, dolcettos, gamays, youthful grenache and wines not stored so heavily in oak! This exotic and exalted fruit is in there! We’ll get back to the other ends of the fruit scale, the 1s and 3s, as the season roll along. But for now, while the light is ideal and pointing us to its handiwork, I thought a reflection was necessary. It is not going to last long. The nights are soon to come along faster and we’ll crave heartier flavors. The brilliance of summer has been successful and is now suggesting we relax and enjoy. Sleep in Cezanne’s blue perhaps and maybe have a perfectly fruited glass of wine.
- A Sour Tart (mmelili.wordpress.com)