Today we’ll be talking about listening to entire rock albums vs. individual MP3 song downloads, wine preservation systems, on-line store boycotts, Jenga, and Mozart.
Yeah, I know – how do I get myself into these messes, right?
Let’s start with the albums vs. individual songs thing. At heart, I’m an album guy. What I mean is, I find that on the whole, I prefer listening to an entire album of music vs. individual songs or best-of collections. Some of the greatest rock albums of all time – Who’s Next, Moving Pictures, The Queen Is Dead, Woyaya, Close To the Edge, Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, Let It Bleed – had an enormous amount of time and effort placed in the track sequence alone. Sure, the individual songs are quite enjoyable, but over the course of listening to an entire hour of a band’s work, the pieces can sometimes become more powerful when taken taken together. In rare cases, the construction of an album is so damn good that removing or rearranging even one track would be like removing an instrument from a Mozart work – the remainder starts to fall apart, like a Jenga puzzle with a foundation piece suddenly torn away. Sometimes, deconstruction isn’t worth it.
The funny thing is, when it comes to wine I’m in exactly the opposite camp. I love going through a great bottle of wine with friends, really “listening” to what the wine has to say as it unfolds and changes over the course of an evening, but all things being equal, I’d rather sample and enjoy several wines in the same time frame. And since they contain alcohol there is a simple biological limit to how many bottles can be opened and enjoyed in full by a small group of people in one evening. Not that I’ve tested that limit, of course. At least, not yet this week.
Which is why I fell in love with the wine tasting bar at the enormous Fairlakes, VA Whole Foods ‘mothership’ store while touring the Loudoun County wine country recently.
So, to recap: that’s Rock albums vs. MP3 singles, Mozart, Jenga, Virginia, and Whole Foods. Now we can talk about some wine!…
General on-line boycotting of Whole Foods not withstanding, I was duly impressed with the cozy wine lover’s hamlet nestled on the second floor in the very back of their enormous Fairlakes VA store. The setup includes about ten enomatic wine-preservation machines, which are capable of dispensing single-pour amounts of wine directly from bottles that are preserved via an inert gas system. My understanding is that the systems are not cheap.
The setup is a wine geek’s wet dream (ha-ha), as the amount of different wines that you can sample are limited only to the number of individual bottles in the preservation system, and your credit limit. It was about as close to wine nerd heaven as you can get, provided that you enjoy the by-the-glass sampling and aren’t too self-righteous about the ‘album vs. singles’ / ‘bottle vs. glasses’ kind of thing. I need to offer much thanks to VA-based wine blogger Dezel of My Vine Spot for introducing me to the WF tasting spot, and for the great and geeky wine conversation we had over (several) glasses together.
By now you’re probably asking So… what did you drink, man!???
That’s fodder for another post entirely. Some of the wines on offer were excellent examples of some of the world’s great fine wines. I’ve yet to offer any twitter ‘mini-reviews’ from that extended tasting, because I’m finding it very, very difficult to summarize those tasting experiences in under 140 characters. For now, I’ll offer some pics of my selections as taken from the extraordinarily crappy camera on my LG ENV2 cell phone (dear iPhone users – please resist the temptation to tell me how great you are because your overly-expensive phone that is nasty and smudgy from the glossy screen getting rubbed against your face all day long, and gets crappy talk-time life with it non-replaceable rechargeable battery, takes amazing video and pictures – thanks in advance):
(images: flickr.com/photos/digitalczech, 1WineDude’s crappy LG ENV2 phone camera)