Monday, July 13, 2009

Snobbery and the Form of Wine

Form is like your opponent's stomach; it cannot fake you out. When writers talk about form, it quickly becomes a confusing topic verging on mystery. Perhaps it is easier to pinpoint the form of wine. When considering this, it is easy to fall prey to the assumption that structure and body compose the form of wine, however, it is too limited. Form is not a quality, it is the shape that qualities take. So then, is shape not the form of wine?

Some like to drink wine from Riedel glasses, some prefer Ravenscroft. Wine Spectator recently reported that Pierre-Emmanuel Taittinger, President of Taittinger Champagne, prefers his champagne from the bowl-shaped goblets rather than tulip glasses; the added weight of their folklore (that they're molded from a woman's breast) raising the form of his champagne into the realm of the erotic. Some like to drink wine straight from the bottle and others like any vessel at hand, provided that it does not leak. I prefer glasses that match the wine's grape variety and quality, as well as the situation in which it is drunk. The ultimate form of wine for me (as if I could dictate the form of wine!) is this: a bottle poured into four even glasses.

The most important part is not that it is poured into Riedel glasses, though it'd be nice, or that it is the most exemplary bottle out there, thought that'd be nice too. What matters most to me is that it is shared with good company (and, as a second thought, that there are more bottles available after the first).

All this got me thinking about the form of my wine writing and what characteristics it might embody, and I think that, above all, I want to write about reasonably priced wines for people who demand unique and expressive flavors. What could be better really? We are in a poor economic situation, but that isn't the main point. For me, the main point is that I care more about living a good life than I do about making money, ergo I want some serious bang for my buck. I wonder how many people who buy Taittinger's 1998 Brut Blanc De Blancs Comtes De Champagne for $219 share it with friends?

So, while magazines like Wine Spectator, which I do highly respect, will aim their articles toward annual saleries just out of reach of most of their audience, I will not. I'll probably write for below your annual salary, but I promise the wines will exhibit worthy qualities. The form is up to you.

My next post will review the good, the bad, and the ugly of the recent Puglia wines that I have drank.

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