Saturday, January 10, 2009

Stupid question

I never know how to answer the question, "What's your favourite wine?" When you're so invested in a subject, how do you answer such a simplified, thoughtless question?

The only people that answer these questions with a definite choice are the people that have had little exposure to the subject, and have yet to fully experience all its subtleties and nuances. How can a musician answer what his/her favourite music is? It all depends on context. I've been studying classical piano for 16 years, and I could never give you the name of my favourite composer. I love Bach for its elegant clarity and pure expression of the piano. I love Schubert and Brahms for their classicism. I love Beethoven for the fiery and haunting melodies, especially post-deafness. I love Liszt for his virtuosity and showmanship. And I love Chopin for his romanticism, and emotional richness.

I don't have a favourite wine. I don't.

I love Bordeaux for its elegance and aristocracy. For its clear sense of terroir and regional subtleties. And I love Bordeaux for its history and tradition.

I love Champagne for its spirit, its liveliness. Celebration, encapsulated in each bubble. A wine of intensity and great finesse, a worthy companion to lift any fine cuisine.

I love Rioja for its earthiness, for its subtle, delicate nature. A wine of tradition.

I love riesling, of Germany, Alsace, and Niagara, for its aggressiveness, for its intensity, and for its unbelievable ability to reflect the soil that gives it life.

I love............too many things. I'd go on, but I'd be essaying instead of blogging. My point is, the wine world is too vast, just too varied. Unless you don't think of wine on an intellectual level, it's impossible to definitively say that you have a single favourite wine. Again, it all depends on context. I'm a seasonal drinker, so I stay away from riesling, sauvignon blanc, those kinds of wines in the winter. Right now, for me - Rhone wines, claret, ports, and the odd selection of heavier Italian, Spanish, Portuguese wines.

Please stop asking me what wine is my favourite. Or I'll ask you which of your two children is YOUR favourite and make you give me an answer.

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