Jason Joyce
March 21, 2014 | Chalk Talk | Jason Joyce

Break Free From The Rote

Broke up, and I'm relieved somehow
It's the end of the discussions that just go round and round and round, and round, And round, and round it shouldn't have been anyway - Issac Brock  

    Wherever exists some topic that is written about and discussed endlessly,  there arises a desparate need for controversy to keep the discussion going.  The world of wine definitley falls into this pattern.  And true to form as in other worlds, I always find that the "controversies" concerning wine are rather boring and not all that important.  In the short amount of time I have been in wine, there are two topics that just will not go away. The first thing people just love love love love love love love to talk about is alchohol levels and ripeness.  It's a strange one way debate though as I have never encountered the enraged drinker of fruit driven big full bodied wines lamenting the mere existence of acid driven "elegant" wines.  That seems to ring the alarm bells of a created controversy to me and one that demands little attention.  This "debate" just seems like a complete waste of time and energy to me.  Wines exist in the full range of flavors and styles, drink what you like and let others drink what they like. As George Saintsbury, one of the godfathers of wine writing said: 

"The hardest thing to attain... is the appreciation of difference without insisting on superiority" 

The problem is that taste in wine is akin to taste in clothes or music, it has become a cultural proxy for establishing your ability to discriminate true quality.   It goes back to a great scene in one of my favorite movies, "How to work out what makes good things good is hard isn't it?"  And the importance of taste in today's world explains why things can get personal and defensive when talking about wine.

     The other topic which is at least somewhat interesting, but again not nearly as important as the time and effort dedicated to it its continuation is wine bottle closures.  It is interesting mainly due to it being part of the core idea of wine drinking and the importance of ritual.  The cork vs. screwcap story is almost an allegory for the moral debate on souls and brain chemistry.  The feeling of "Is there more to this or is the simple explanation the truth?" Screwcap advocates will site the evidence that screwcaps are superior in all regards in terms of performance and ease of use.  It represents human science outpermforming nature and all the back slapping that comes with that.  The cork set sticks by tradition and likes to say, "Hey man, a cork just feels right."  I myself have always gone with the cork.  It might not be perfect, but for a completely natural product, it is pretty damn good.   And then an old college friend sent me a video in the comments section of this very blog.  I thought it was eloquent enough that I should share it up on the front page, and as good a reason as any to stick with putting corks in the bottle, worts and all.  And just live with the fact that if you get a tainted bottle, let me know, we always gladly replace them with a fresh bottle. 


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