Wednesday, October 20, 2010
As the wine turns
Seamus wasn’t looking quite himself this morning. I'd made a Halloween pumpkin, carved out a carefully plotted set of eyes, one nose, one mouth. It glowed prettily with its fangs and squint, set on a windowsill. But that was a week ago. So long, Seamus, I glibly proffered as I clacked the door shut.
A week later, I'm back. Back in the night from a trip to the country, feeling around in the dim for just the right place to set the keys down, finding the way to bed in a trail of shoes and socks and pants and slipping into the covers.
This morning, I walked out in short clothes to make coffee. Oh, goodness. Seamus, no. He'd gone from ten to eighty in a few days. Time-lapse without the flow; a jerky leap into the derelict future. Wrinkled and cowed, he looked a pity. I should have kept him in the fridge like some Michael Jackson during my absence.
Farewell, fall friend.
Wine is, of course, like that. Yes, I have it on good recommendation that such fare as Ca' de Noci's Notte di Luna can hold up when one leaves a part-empty bottle be for a bit. Ditto Radikon (but, sorry, when has a 500ml bottle of Radikon ever survived an evening?). Wine, though, doesn't hold once open to the air and all things that modify and corrupt it. It's an almost Dante-ish view of the world (everyone now reread the Purgatorio and hold hands).
Yet once again I'm curious about these different side- and after-effects of our passion for wine. I am, too, about how little is known regarding the chemical specifics. Why do some wines (I've heard) require a full-day decant? Others start to fall to pieces minutes (minutes!!! (she said, striking fear into hearts everywhere)) after uncorking?
Ah, it might be just that uncertainty and those flashes of unstable and unpredictable beauty that make wine such a wily and willful partner.
But it also might be that œnology should be considered a worthy science. Some money should be put into this stuff, smart people put on the case, and then we won't have to wonder and ask and do imprecise and costly experiments with aging and storage and all of the bugbears that thwart, challenge, and enflame wine lovers.
Despite my desire for a flippant conclusion, I'll remain staunch. Our fruitlihood is at stake.