Posts Filed Under wine appreciation
Lately I’ve found myself at (what I’d consider to be) a lot of (what I would call) professional (or, at least, semi-professional) environments in which I am expected (or at least it seems that way) to taste wine in the hopes that I might critically evaluate it (but with fewer parenthetical interruptions if I do).
I’m rarely alone at those moments – I’m usually part of a small group of bloggers, traditional press, or some mixture thereof. But I am usually alone in at least one respect at those tastings: I’m the one asking for a spit bucket.
Or the one looking around for an open outside door, empty unused glass, drainage grate, or random patch of grass so that I can spit. More often than not, I feel as though I’ve got to explain myself, and/or am left wondering why a winery or event coordinator hasn’t thought to at least provide a plastic cup for spitting purposes.
More concerning to me is that the majority of my peers at these tastings don’t seem to feel the slightest need to spit.
Now, I’m not about to tell someone how they should evaluate wine, and I’m certainly in the "wine tasting is more subjective than objective" camp – but I’m baffled as to how someone can taste several wines without spitting and think that they can remain cogent enough to provide an ounce of objective viewpoint about it all later…
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Hang on to your tin foil cone hats, people. Today’s discussion is about to get… freaky. For those of you who give up on me in this post, I promise this will be the last time I talk about the Andromeda Paradox in relation to wine, ok?
You see, the thing is, time is relative. Which means that your future may be predetermined; which means that you might not actually have the freewill that you thought you had, but it doesn’t matter anyway because you need to fulfill the destiny of the present moment because that’s the only moment that truly matters because it’s immutable. So if you’re drinking a glass of wine right now, give it your full attention because as far as that immutable moment is concerned, you will be appreciating that wine for eternity.
Don’t worry – it will all make sense in a minute or two. Or several. I think. Let’s start at the beginning.
Time is relative
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but the sense that time is the same for all of us is an illusion, though happily the relativistic nature of time only manifests itself when dealing with extreme circumstances, like, say, traveling in a car at almost the speed of light (sorry, speed demons – even the latest Yahama crotch-rocket motorcycles can’t even come close to that speed). But the fact remains, proven scientifically with astounding accuracy: time is not the same for all observers in the Universe. Which results in interesting phenomena like the Andromeda Paradox.
Your Future Has Already Happened. Sort Of.
In the Andromeda Paradox, "when someone is moving towards a distant point there are later events at that point than for someone who is not moving towards the distant point. There is a time gap between the events in the present moment of the two people."
Let’s look at it this way – let’s say you’re on vacation in the Andromeda galaxy and are planning on enjoying some kick-ass Andromedean wine. Back on Earth, one of your wine-loving friends is looking to the sky via telescope to see how your Andromeda wine-vacation is coming along (let’s ignore the fact that it would take about two million years for the light to reach her telescope). If your friend is at her house (stationary, in Earth terms), what she might see is you contemplating what wine to buy and where to drink it. Simple enough, right?
Let’s say your friend then calls one of her friends via cell phone. That particular friend is in a car, moving very fast (like, almost light-speed fast) in the general direction of the Andromeda galaxy, and also has a kick-ass telescope. Ignoring the rules of good road safety, he decides to look into his telescope while driving to see how you’re coming along on your vacation, now that your first friend has piqued his interest by mentioning that you were vacationing in Andromeda.
But what he sees is not what your other friend sees. He sees you already at an Andromedean restaurant and drinking the wine that you’ve not even yet decided on trying according to your other friend. Your stationary friend? She sees you still deciding what wine to try. And both of them are right.
Hence the paradox: "…two observers observe the same events – two million year old events in their telescopes – but the moving observer must assume that events at the present moment on Andromeda are a day or two in advance of those in the present moment of the stationary observer."
And the freakiness has only just begun…
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I could tell that I wasn’t quite myself based on the number of business cards in my backpack.
There were dozens of those little cards left, staring back at me when I opened my pack. Cards that I should have given away to friends old and new at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Walla Walla. The “normal” Joe would have been handing out those cards left and right. Instead, they were practically shouting their futility – after all, what good are they to me? I already know who I am.
It wasn’t the fact that I had been in a new place for the first time, seeing new faces (I’m well used to that scenario); it also wasn’t the fact that back home one of our 100+ year-old trees came down on our neighbors garage in a fierce storm, cleaving it nearly into two (no one was hurt, apart from the trees). The reason I wasn’t myself was that my teacher was dying.
My teacher was my dog, Sam. He passed away while I was at the conference (if you were in attendance and I appeared out of it or seemed dismissive, please understand that it wasn’t you, it was most definitely me).
Sam was pretty sprightly for a guy in his 80s (people years, of course), still weighing in at 85 lbs. of mostly muscle. Still fairly strong, too (he had once accidentally broken my left hand when we were out for a run). Stubborn, too – in fact, I used to joke that I could sum up Sam’s thoughts in one sentence (“Hey guys – this is what I want to do now”).
Our experience with Sam was more Marley and Me than Lassie – he had a penchant for stealing bread, licking the icing off of cakes on the kitchen counter, eating through metal cans of dog food, and practically destroying the house during thunderstorms. BUT… he was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever known.
Sam taught me a lot about how to really appreciate wine (yes, I’m serious – read the post). But his greatest lessons were in teaching me compassion and patience – the latter being something that I’ve often cited as the ‘secret sauce’ of wine blogging (and life in general, really; yes, I’m serious – watch the vid).
My only real regret is not that I wasn’t there to say goodbye when Sammy passed – it’s that I wasn’t the quickest study when it came to fully grasping all of those lessons in compassion and patience that Sammy tried to teach me.
Here’s to a friend, a sweet soul, an old teacher – long may his lessons be remembered.
1WineDude.com has never (and will never) accept sponsored articles, which means that whatever you read on its virtual pages is purely the product of my somewhat deranged mind.
I do need to feed my family, however, and so I have been taking some paid writing gigs on the side. One of those gigs has been for the blog of Wines.com, called Wine Crush. That gig is not promoting individual wines, producers, or brands, and I have free reign on the content for my posts – Wines.com just wanted to add the value of quality wine-elated content for their customers (but for some reason, they still chose me as a contributor…).
Over the last few months I’ve built up some content at Wine Crush of which I’m proud and thought that I’d cal attention to it here, in case it’s of interest to 1WD readers. Similar voice, of course, but the topics are a bit different than what I cover here and so I think they’re complimentary (the Wine Crush content is meant more for those at the start of their wine journey, while 1WD remains more in what I like to call the “Intermediate” space, though all are certainly welcome, newbies and experts alike).
Anyway, check it out if you’re so inclined: