I am giving up on what has become a totally fruitless quest ending in a miasma of heartbreak and despair; I hereby renounce my Sisyphusian efforts, and will no longer roll this impossibly heavy boulder of writing wisdom up the mountain of populist adversity, only to have it come heaving down to crush the vulnerable bones of my hopes time and time again.
Not that I feel overly dramatic about it or anything.
What is the heart of this painful linguistic matter? The brilliant and terrible rays of sunlight on the wax wings of my personal flight of Icarus?
It’s the rampant misuse of the word varietal.
To quote Inigo Montoya, “Joo keep using daht word. I donah tink it means what joo tink it means…”
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Today I’ll be starting my week-long Napa excursion (the itinerary of which I’d hoped to have posted today, but since all those West Coast hippies are so damn laid back, as of the time of this writing my schedule still isn’t totally finalized… if I’d been dealing with uptight, anally-retentive East Coast types I would have had this all nailed down within 15 minute intervals weeks ago).
This got me thinking about Napa Cabernet, of which I plan to have tasted so much by the time I leave Napa that I will probably need emergency dental work to deal with the teeth stains as soon as I land back in Philly.
And since I’m heading out there for a writers symposium, it got me thinking about the origin of “Napa Cabernet” – not in terms of the wine, but in terms of the words. I’m a sucker for words and I own more than my fair share of dictionaries and etymological resources. I’m geeky that way.
You’d think that this would be pretty easy, right? A bit of Google searching, or a trip to the handy-dandy unabridged dictionary, and we’d be all set, right? Surely there isn’t much to the origin of such words, the kind that are so nearly ubiquitous that they instantly call up various mental and sensory images for wine lovers worldwide, right?
Not so fast, Buck-O. As it turns out, the etymology of both “Napa” and “Cabernet” is far from being etched indelibly in stone…
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Just about every year around St. Valentine’s Day, I remind people that wine knowledge makes you appear sexier.
In the past, I’ve cited three (mostly) scientific sources to bolster that viewpoint:
According to a survey jointly sponsored by the Australian Wine Council and on-line dating service Match.com, having a healthy knowledge of the world’s most romantic beverage makes you more attractive, with those people preferring Italian wines being viewed as particularly “sexy” and “stylish.”
Wine X Magazine (as reported by autumnilia) backs up the “wine = sexier” conclusion in an interview with sexpert Dr. Ruth, who tells us that wine is an essential element of foreplay (she prefers Beaujolais Nouveau, gewurztraminer, and CA white, so those may be some of the sexiest wine choices, seeing as how she’s a sexpert and whatnot- just sayin’).
If you’re totally desperate on this most Hallmark of holidays, Yahoo! Answers has a thread about what wine choices make a drinking partner appear the most attractive. Chianti and Sake got the nods there.
Cheers – and may you be lucky in wine and love!
(image: courtesy of Celeste Guliano Photography)