Alder Yarrow over at Vinography confesses that one of his recurring prayers is “May there never be a time when wine loses its magic for me.”
Amen, Alder, amen.
Alder goes on to say much that I concur with:
“Sometimes this feels vaguely religious. I have such faith in the mystical conversion of simple grapes into something that transcends its origins, even as it transcends fruit itself. I give thanks for the magic of aromas of honeysuckle, caramel, mint and chocolate created solely by wood and grape juice.”
I don’t believe in much beyond rock, tree, sky, cloud, and friends, but here’s some magic I can believe in. After all, every bottle I open offers the delightful promise of uniqueness, the chance to taste something new. Contrast that to beer, which I also love. But with beer, I have different expectations – it’s supposed to be the same taste with every bottle, year upon year. The big breweries indeed spend untold sums ensuring that aspect; it’s an integral part of the brand.
Not so with wine.
Because with wine, it’s the prospect of subtle and pronounced variations in flavor, body, aroma, color, and finish that attract the lover of wine as well as the winemaker. As weather patterns and winemaking techniques change each season, so does a wine that may otherwise come from the same vineyard. As a drinker of wine, you want to switch brands if you want to open yourself to discovery. (But you don’t have to – that’s part of the allure.)
“Sameness” may have its place – after all, we buy cases and caselots of wine if we truly like it – but sameness may have more to do with the buying patterns of the jug-wine set than the pursuits of those (like me) who would tease and tempt their palates with a bounty of possibilities.
For this reason, and for the anticipation of the next bottle, Alder is right in suggesting that there’s a spiritual connection between us humans and the ephemeral fruit of the vine in which we discover, and rediscover, uncommon and extraordinary magic. It’s an Earth/body connection that continues to grow stronger within me – a connection and a magic that I can’t comprehend living this Life without.