Friday, January 13, 2006

Thrillseekers?

Savvy and adventure-seeking, that's me. At least according to a brand new survey, that's me and countless other wine drinkers. Hmmm. Trying a year-old Beaujolais Nouveau is as adventuresome as my wine-swilling friends get. They certainly don't do this.

So, if we're not exactly into pulse-pounding thrills, what does this survey really say about wine fanatics? What is it that's different about us? I have a couple of friends with a quick response to that one -- effite snobbery. But the wine geeks I know are not like that. There was a time in this country when you were considered a snob if you knew anything at all about wine. Not true of most European countries and, thankfully, no longer true of the U.S.

So, if it's not a penchant for danger and not the desire for elitist stature, what then? I think it has to do with a shared philosophy that transcends mundane matters such as politics. Some people even think wine had something to do with the birth of philosophy. Apparently, college courses are now looking at this question (now I know I live in the wrong part of the country).

Turning to the survey again, wine drinkers stand out from other Americans in valuing new experiences, following their own path, desiring intangibles, and having their life priorities in order. OK, this can get overstated a bit. Neurosis does exist in the wine community. But, in general, I've never met a more content bunch of people than those gathered around a great wine. Could it just be the simple pursuit of pleasure, rather than some pretentious philosophy at work? Sure, but I'm convinced the simple pursuit of pleasure encourages a lust for excess not typical of wine drinkers.

Wine is, on the one hand, hedonistic pleasure but also the solder of strong community. Thomas Jefferson knew this. "No nation is drunken where wine is cheap, and none sober where the dearness of wine substitutes ardent spirits as the common beverage" -- Jefferson.

2 Comments:

Blogger busy joe park said...

Hi JD,

Just came across your blog and thought you had some good content. Any recommendations for wine/food pairings?

Thanks!
Joe

2:53 PM  
Blogger JD said...

Hi Joe. Thanks for your comments. I hardly know where to begin in answering your question. There's so many different directions in which to go. You should know this much -- the old rules of white wine with fish or fowl and red with beef are out the window, have been for some time. You should feel free to experiment, but always try to match the richness of your dish with the richness of the wine. I'll talk about some specific pairings from time to time on this blog, so keep stopping by.

3:29 PM  

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