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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Ranting & Raving

Does Bordeaux ever piss you off? Personally, I don’t want to give it the satisfaction. The redundancy of another spring futures campaign is such a bland, stale parade that its predictability alone has allowed me to shut it off for the most part. That being said, the region’s dynamic hasn’t always been this way, has it? Read between the lines, right? Dog-shit years like ’91, ’92 & ’93 would get the ‘claret drinkers’ lip service. The aristocracy knew that high price tags couldn’t be sustained for wines that are as transparent as fishbowls, but they had to save face to keep the machine well oiled. We all get it. Then once the hype ignition lit a subsequent vintage aflame, the hoards would be dubious, but tingly nonetheless, right? I mean ups and downs make sense. Sullen, diffuse optimism for any period of time is just another way to prime the pump for a crazy wino. It readies them for their future crest of enthusiasm, while doubly allowing them to reserve a bit of excess funds from all those ho-hum vintages that rendered their buying decisions remarkably sane. A win-win.

Who needs Napa’s consistency? I mean if you want consistent, buy Napa- when it’s bad, it really aint that bad. When it’s great, it’s damn good, but come on, not THAT much better than last years polish. Doesn’t some of Bordeaux’s beauty lie in its climatic margins? Don’t the gray skies that shroud the flat gravel lands pave the way for the region’s black and white extremes to see-saw up & down the qualitative pyramid? A confluence of emotions, teetering up & down w/ excitement, depression and neurosis. Sounds great, right? Well sure, consider the alternative. Don’t get me wrong, I am not one-one hundredth as diluted as I seem to be. I’m hardly so foolish to suggest that ‘better, more consistent quality’ is a drawback to Bordeaux. It’s not. I don’t like bad Bordeaux. I’m not even that crazy about mediocre Bordeaux. That said, I have to admit that consistency makes Bordeaux far less viscerally attractive to me (and no, don’t give me that crap about ‘gee, you should be a Burgundy fan if you crave the heartbreak). My outside allure to Bordeaux was partly predicated on its variability, its moodiness. The great are truly singular, not just ‘cuz they’re great, but because they’re uniquely scarce gifts from Bacchus. After all those days of slugging through desiccated, dreary dregs of Cabernet, the sun finally kissed both banks of the Gironde. None of that ‘it rained, it poured…then the September sun saved the vintage’ crap. The suffering through astringency, wood tannins, gritty stems & teeth jarring acidity finally paved the way to something more than palatable, something memorable. Absence makes the heart grow fungus.

You get the gist. There’s no real suggestion here, just a nihilistic observation of sorts. See, nihilism, that’s the problem. I’m not willing to admit that it’s my problem that Bordeaux is boring me a bit. It can’t possibly be me! No indictment here, but I have to rant w/o direction when the fire is gone. I do seem to have diagnosed the bit. No volatility + no surprise = no passion. No fire. Another great year, if it really is, is becoming less about doubting the sales pitch and more about ‘didn’t we just have one?’ Well, I’m broke on 2000, I’m broke on 2005. Even if I had the money for ’08, ’09 and I’m sure 2010, 2011, 2012, blah blah blah…I don’t think I’d be able to buy w/ the fever of the past. My heart’s just not in it- perhaps it’s cured. I’ve been cured of a disease by witnessing a painful change, a change towards predictability. Wine has always kept my sanity out of check because of that very fact, its unpredictability. I’m deaf and dumb to the ‘nother great vintage.

Maybe when I taste this years champion I’ll sing a different tune, but as of right now, I’d rather drink something funky.


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