21 September 2006

Interesting wine discussion tonight.

So Suzi and I were sharing a bottle of Sancerre tonight, during which some regulars came in and sat at the bar: W., Bt and B.
At some point or another I happened to notice that a conversation between Suzi and W. had turned oenological.
It was a question of what appellation meant versus other methods of determining from where a wine comes. The distinction, which seemed so clear to Suzi and me, was slightly more difficult to explain that I thought it would be and, finally, it came down to analogies. I've always thought analogies were a great way to explain things, anyway.
So after we discussed differences in region (Bordeaux versus Chateauneuf-du-pape) and appellation (among Burgundies: Pommard versus Volnay -with a slight digression to touch on the idea of terroir) everybody was singing from the same hymnal.
I hadn't quite realized how involved all of us had become in the conversation but, when I went to check on someone who'd ordered a bottle off of the by-the-bottle list, he mentioned how entertained he was by our conversation. It had a "level of sophistication" he enjoyed.
Amanda mentioned when I was in the back that we were having a wine snobby conversation.
I find it interesting that it was perceived as sophisticated (or snobby) since, to me - and I'm sure to Suzi, as well-, it was just us trying to clarify an often convoluted concept that we happen to understand, to some degree.It was like describing to somebody the differences between Orangina and R.C. Cola. Sure, both fizzy drinks but a world of difference between the two. Nothing inherently sophisticated but we just happened to have taken the time to experience and learn about a certain subject.
Music has its dangers of suggesting a listener is snobby, as well. If I said that I loved country music because of the emotional spectrum it offered; the pain it expressed so purely or the joy it evoked so jauntily. Of the melodramatic quality it offered with its cliches of lost loves of varying types. Of the vocal ranges country music explored from Tammy Wynette to Merle Haggard. If I said that, despite its often confusing vernacular, I enjoyed the emotions the music conveyed then rare would be the person who'd say I was being snobby. Assuming I said all of this in a non-haughty way, of course. But if I took all of those reasons and applied them to opera. Well. For some reason opera just implies that the listener is a bit snooty. The same with wine, sometimes.
These are just tastes. Knowledge cultivated out of love of an experience rather than desire to impress.
Hell. This time of year it seems like everyone's a football expert, with their esoteric knowledge of rules and histories and such like.
So for everyone who can bring up the fact that Spurrier hadn't coached a game in almost twenty years wherein his team didn't score a single point then I should be allowed to mention, when it's relevant, that Pinotage is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault.

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