I remember a defining moment in life, not profoundly pivotal, but with its own influence I think of daily in my quest to find and taste all good wines. I had a group of friends over, after having been out for the night and had promised to open a wine with them to round off the whole event.
As I looked at my disappointingly inexcessive collection of wine, I realised my limitations within it: potentially, I stocked around thirty bottles, of which only three I considered ready to drink. Obviously, this instilled a certain awkwardness between me and my guests, when I broke the news, not being people understanding of the patience of wine maturation (realists). Having now become quite initiated to the hobby of wine keeping and collecting, I had a surprisingly hard time understanding their frustration and confusion when I presented my excuses for not opening a bottle prematurely; apparently, well rounded tannins just mean nothing to some people.
During a brief argument where I tried to persuade the plebians – as I saw them for what they truly were – that I had let into my home, that the Crackling vintage of 2015/2014/2013 was the superior budget drink of choice, I had ‘an opinion’. Not an epiphany, as that is a sudden realisation of truth, but an opinion. And in my opinion, opinions can be wrong, and to tell me I’m wrong you would compound a paradox that only proves my original statement. I digress:
Within this opinion, lay an unusual irony, perhaps only the very rich understand. By rich, I mean very rich; inexhaustibly rich – in a form of bitter pride I did not include myself among this group – I, being only rich by statistical definition, when one sees the collective human world as handful of comfortable people and a lot of people whose living densities and dietary balance are matched only by battery chicken. The dilemma in mind, was to do with that which we own, we cannot have or that we cannot have what we own, in a pseudo-philosophical sense: The broken concept that material ownership induces self-fulfilment. Perhaps, I had glimpsed with 3D glasses into the now axiomatic dogma that money doesn’t buy happiness. Here, in front of me lay a set of wine I wouldn’t drink purely under the guarantee that the longer I waited the more I would get in return. Perhaps by the time they were ready, I would own better wines and know I shouldn’t have turned down my current stock; maybe I’d be a Buddhist monk, celibate of drinking. It was a somewhat sobering (exaggeration for emphasis) cold fact of futility that infiltrates many aspects of life; something, as children we can’t understand; a Deal or No Deal mentality; chasing the end of the rainbow, hoping the investment pays off. And sadly, being a shallow materialistic person, each bottle opened was a bottle less in the collection, and so ceased to belong to me. Ask any real literate, and he’ll tell you a similar opinion on ebooks.
Before I get too sombre, I’d like to revert back and the point of this blog is in never taking things too seriously. Under any critical mentality, one can think themselves out of doing anything worthwhile, and I’d gone ‘too deep’. Once in a while, playing devil’s advocate for yourself can be enlightening. I cracked open the first bottle I got my hands on and enjoyed it more than 10 years could have done for it. Wine began as a drink healthier than water, enjoyed round stone fires during the medieval winters of Europe and in the gardens of summer. To run away with a concept of elitism is an injustice.