Sunday, January 04, 2009

the tiny beginnings of an education on "wine tasting"

Today I was listening to the splendid table and they were talking about a wine tasting trip they went on.

In the past I've *heard*, vaguely, of wine tasting. But I've never done it, nor known much about it. I was enjoying the program up until a certain point when I came to understand that wine tasting apparently involves spitting the wine out after you taste it.

I am led to believe that the following demonstrates that I am nearly altogether uncultured and a bit (or perhaps a lot) weird to boot:

I found this shocking, and ... the word "evil" came to mind.

It just seemed wrong to me me. Very very wrong. I'm not saying it *is* wrong. I'm just saying that's how it struck me. The term "cultural anorexia" came to mind. As well as "having one's cake and eating it too". And also "obscene overconsumption/wealth". And of course while wine tasters can "taste" 20, 30, 40, even 50 wines in a day, which of course I guess they could *not* do if they were taking a swallow of every wine they tasted, one billion people will not have access to safe potable water today. As in enough to drink to stay hydrated.

Seems to me one perhaps *shouldn't* (warning: the word "should" has been introduced) taste more wines in a day than one can cope with swallowing. Nor, if one wants to taste wine, should one avoid the accompanying intoxication.

But what do I know? I suppose one could compare it to using birth control. The comparison doesn't work for me at all, but I can see the an analogy there.

It just *seems* and *feels* very wrong.

It doesn't feel the same as other cultural differences I've run up against in the past. There has been a certain discomfort--a "makes-me-squirm" element--with lots of things because I haven't experienced before. But they don't generally include this feeling of moral wrongness.

I'm sure I'll get over it. =)

Thoughts?

5 comments:

Megs said...

I loooove wine tasting.................

Seren said...

The wine tasters are important to wine makers because they let them know whether or not they are doing things right. I've never tried to make wine, but i know people who have, and it's very difficult to get all the elements right.

I know wine tasters don't usually work at the level of distinguishing "drinkable" from "undrinkable" wine, but they are establishing standards.

The question you raise relates to art as a whole, i think.

Benjamin Ady said...

"The question you raise relates to art as a whole, i think."

Seren,

I'm incredibly curious to hear more about what you mean by that. I mentally tried out my conundrum on other art forms (I was thinking of painting) while I was writing, to see if it would help me make sense of my feelings, and I couldn't get it to work at all. Help me out.

Seren said...

I meant that the waste you see when the wine tasters (artisans in their own way) spit out the wine can be equated with any resources that go into art - painting, literature, music.

How can we put resources into something not necessary for sustaining life, when some people don't have the resources to sustain life.

I'm simplifying somewhat. But that's what i meant. Is it clearer now?

Megs said...

Seren, I love the way you word that "How can we put resources into something not necessary for sustaining life, when some people don't have the resources to sustain life?"
SInce living in Uganda in 1996, that question has been, to some degree, the tension in which I live and struggle. Thanks for expressing it so well.
And lovely Bens, and lovely Seren, want to go wine tasting some time?!