Suburban Wino 2: The Wordpress Experiment

Soul | November 2, 2010

The past few weeks have proven to test my mettle in the blog/social media landscape. The times between work hours previously spent writing posts and tasting wine are now most-significantly occupied with the supervision of a terribly cute, totally innocent crap and drool factory. My wife is self-employed, and I’m often (happily, I might add) expected to take the reigns of parent upon arrival home, so she can work on building our business…
No. It is not anything like life before parenthood. I’m sure we would’ve just polished off a bottle of something tasty. Instead, I write with a shirt still-damp from a recent episode of infant regurgitation.

My point? I was thinking about putting together a Halloween post detailing the scariest wines in existence. Boone’s Farm, Wild Irish Rose, MD 20/20 (fun fact: the MD actually stands for “Mogen David”, not “Mad Dog”). You know, the stuff that’ll have you waking up with fur on your tongue. Spooky, indeed. However, Hallow’s Eve came and went, and no post (with the fortunate side-effect of no consumption of the demonic wines listed).
No problem. Halloween is followed by All Saints’ Day, a Catholic/Pagan/Eastern hybrid celebrating and remembering the life and death of the holiest to have gone before us. What a perfect opportunity to pour a little out for my hallowed homies, sippin’ on Morey-Saint-Denis, Saint-Amour, and Vin Santo. Alas…the day got away from me, but my daughter did try to eat my nose. A fair trade-off, indeed.
And here it is: we sit on November 2, otherwise known as All Souls’ Day, a feast day dedicated to those who have passed, but who are not Saints. Sounds like a day that hits closer to my demographic (save the whole “dead” thing. I’m not sure how many ghosts and spirits are reading this blog. But, I will take anything I can get, and I appreciate all the boozy vespers and slurping apparitions who stop by). So, with this in mine, I figured I’d pontificate on wine…with soul.

Perhaps I mean juice that’s got soul, and is super bad? Makes you get up, get on up, get up, get on up, get up, get on up, stay on the scene, like a sex machine? Wine that’s paid the cost to be the boss?
You know, wines so good they make you wanna slap your wife and go to jail for a while? Dance on stage with Apollo Creed in defiance of Ivan Drago and his entourage of freedom-hating Soviets?
Okay. This is gone one long enough, and I’m sure the wife-beating joke will not be well-received. But the Godfather of Soul- for all his warts- was a true original. Flawed for sure, yet funky as hell. Sounds a little bit like the wine I’m trying to envision.
Some call this concept terroir– formerly a concept I thought I fully understood. I’ve been taught this French concept vaguely refers to the soil composition, the climate, the orientation of the vine, the amount of sun it receives, it’s proximity to the ocean. Terroir, roughly translated, is the sense of place, and that unique place impresses certain flavors upon a wine. Or at least that’s what I used to think. But the word often seems to be bandied about without respect. “The terroir of the Central Valley gives this box of Franzia Chillable Red its fruit-forward tastiness…”
No, there’s something else. The soul of the place. The history of the vineyards; the history of the land, the towns, and the people around it- past and present. The generations of dirt beneath fingernails. The painstaking craftsmanship of a dedicated, hell-bent, obsessed winemakers. I think that’s really what terroir is, and it’s rare in today’s sea of mass-produced wine.
So, on this All Soul’s Day, I challenge you to find a wine that has one. A story. A person putting his passion into that bottle. And maybe- if you’re lucky- a glassful of something that truly expresses terroir. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Flaws and funk can be good, as long as they’re the by-products of someone putting the very best they can under that cork (or screwcap). But take a few extra moments and resist the temptation to grab the same thing you always drink. Ask your wine shop to give you something…with soul. I’m curious to hear the results…

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