Notes from the Cellar: Just a beverage

by Jeff Cox, Beer and Wine Merchandiser

This article was originally published in September 2009

It’s just a beverage. That’s all. It shares table space with Our Daily Bread.

It’s a comrade to the salt and the pepper. True, when it’s on a roll it can be the sip of a thousand facets, launching fleets of adjectives to sail on seas of inspiration.

It can free the muse and capture the imagination. It’s the magic wand that makes us dance in the moonlight and it’s the corkscrew that lets the genie out of the bottle.

But as special as it is or as loquacious as it can make us feel, it’s still downright quotidian. Just a beverage. It mystifies me how some folks can make such a big deal of, pack so much attitude into, and get so uppity over something you should do every day.
But that’s the way of the world. From day one, for every good thing, there always has been someone whose mission it is to take the joy out of it.

The Snake: “Um, excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice — are you two aware that you’re naked?”

Eve: “That’s a bad thing?”

The Snake: “Well, perhaps not bad but, well, let’s just say it’s a little primitive. Don’t worry, though, I can help. What’s truly remarkable is that not only will you get clothes once you evolve, you’ll get fashion. And fashion designers, fashion shows, fashion disasters, catty remarks … the possibilities are endless — trust me.”

So it is with wine. There are Spectators, Enthusiasts and Advocates, illuminati whose anointed palates translate the mysteries of the grail to the 100 point rating system, aiding the true seeker on the path to Gracious Living. There are Matchmakers — alchemists of flavor who send perfect “pairings” marching off into the Ark of Good Taste, two by two. On the highest plane, there are the Highest of Priests, the Sommeliers, guiding the wine layperson on the path of the righteous choice, offering counsel to prevent falls into the abyss of embarrassment.

In the words of Bill the Cat: “thpptt” to all that. While I don’t dispute the formidable talent, knowledge and passion of the aforementioned types, what’s with the reverence, and where’s the pleasure? After all, we’re just talking about eating and drinking — and if that’s supposed to be a solemn ritual, then I’ll happily fess up to being a hayseed.

Guess that makes me a mere “Wine Guy.” Wine guys are to sommeliers what Thelonious Monk is to Rachmaninoff, Hunter Thompson to Bill Buckley, or Zydeco to ballet. (Sort of.)

Mission: drink amazing wine, eat great food, call b.s. on those who are full of it and spew streams of adjectives about it all. Call it proselytizing for pure pleasure.
Someone’s gotta do it.

Also in this issue

Letters to the editor, September 2009

Cows and climate change; Glycemic Index; Agave syrup, corn syrup; and more

News bites, September 2009

Organic funding increased, Organic audits, Consumers buying more organic, and more

Your co-op, September 2009

Board report, Talk to the board, Next board meeting, and more