On Pinot Noir and Men

How many stories are there about that pinot noir quote in Sideways? How many people did it resonate with? I know I was one of them. Bear with me, it is a good story.

When I first met my husband, we were colleagues working in a start up in California. At that time, he was all about Pinot Noir–or seemed to be.  We used to talk about movies and music and wine and … well…we just used to talk a bit about everything. AND then that movie Sideways came out. One evening, I was driving home after work and I was listening to the highlights from the radio program Fresh Air with Terry Gross. She was interviewing Rex Picket (the writer). They played the clip where the character Miles is talking to the girl and explaining why he liked Pinot Noir:

Miles Raymond: Uh, I don’t know, I don’t know. Um, it’s a hard grape to grow, as you know. Right? It’s uh, it’s thin-skinned, temperamental, ripens early. It’s, you know, it’s not a survivor like Cabernet, which can just grow anywhere and uh, thrive even when it’s neglected. No, Pinot needs constant care and attention. You know? And in fact it can only grow in these really specific, little, tucked away corners of the world. And, and only the most patient and nurturing of growers can do it, really. Only somebody who really takes the time to understand Pinot’s potential can then coax it into its fullest expression. Then, I mean, oh its flavors, they’re just the most haunting and brilliant and thrilling and subtle and… ancient on the planet.

AS SOON AS I HEARD THIS QUOTE, I understood my friend (at the time) at another level. AS SOON AS I HEARD THIS QUOTE, I thought: “MY GOD. THAT IS LUDO”.  That description fits him TO-A-T!” I laughed when told him the next day. I don’t believe he thought it as funny as I did.

Now, as I re-read that quote, 10 years and two boys later, I think I was correct.

So gentlemen, how would you describe your woman as wine?

My friend Katey over at John Tyler Wines wrote a post last week where she started asking men how they would describe their ideal woman as wine. Head on over, have a look.  In this world of wine and wine-lover vocabulary and all the discourse on the internet about wine and loving wine, you’d think there would also be some conversation on wine and romantic LOVE.  And being able to describe your ideal person with a vocabulary from such passion.

My friend in Yellowknife emails me after one of our video Skypes where I’d been talking about it. She said she’d returned to her couch and sat sipping a glass of (I’ll have to ask what she was sipping. Something from the Niagra peninsula I think). She writes (about herself):

I was inspired by the question – me; as a wine…
A lively, fullbodied wine.  Earthy with intriguing flavors of smoke and pepper.  Well structured with a good backbone and soft, supple tannins.
A fun exercise for sure!

So, all of you wine bloggers out there who confer on the virtues of vintages and textures of varietals: What have you got to say about the real love of your life?

We know you have the vocabulary.

Katey, we’re going to set up that mixer for SURE!

If you were a piece of winery equipment, what would you be…

Charlie told me about an interview he once had. He’d been asked this question: If you were a piece of winery equipment, what would you be? He answered that he would be a pumpover device. I had to ask what a pumpover device was. Apparently, it’s the piece of equipment that pumps the wine over the skins in a fermentation tank.

And he had reasons for his answer. But I can’t articulate them, because I didn’t write them down when he told me and because I don’t have the vocabulary of the wine industry. But I thought about that question and wondered if I were a piece of equipment, what piece of equipment would I be?

I don’t feel like I can identify with any piece of office equipment. Especially in telecom. I guess that says something right there.

I sort of felt like I could be a big piece of JCB equipment (excavator maybe)… I feel more comfortable with that. But, in the end, I decided I completely identified with a Swiss Army knife.

If I were a piece of equipment, I think I would be a Swiss Army knife.

Small.
Compact.
Incredibly useful in any (or almost any) situation.
Functional.
Practical.
Low maintenance.
High performance.

I’m not talking about the all-in-one Swiss Army knife. I’m just talking about a regular one. The run-of-the-mill Swiss Army knife. The one you would throw in your backpack for an expedition. That’s me right now. At least, that’s what I was thinking on the way home after lunch.

A while ago, I blogged about being Chardonnay. I remember I liked that description. I’m still working on it.

The Swiss Army version of me would definitely have a corkscrew.

On Being Chardonnay…

My friend and neighbour Paul Brasset has been a winemaker in Sonoma County for over thirty years. Over those thirty years, he has won the Sonoma County Sweepstakes award for his Chardonnay (more than once). He has recently started selling wines from his own cellars, but has started with only Syrah and Zinfandel. I asked him why he doesn’t sell a Chardonnay?

According to Paul, Chardonnay takes more. It takes more to grow the grapes. It takes more to harvest the grapes correctly. It takes more to process the grapes and create the wine. Chardonnay takes more energy. Chardonnay takes more refrigeration. Chardonnay takes more attention. It simply takes more to create a good Chardonnay. His Chardonnay leaves a clean, fresh, crisp palette. Unlike the robust, meaty, lingering palette of a Zinfandel, it takes more to be less.

When I heard this explanation, I decided that I was going to be Chardonnay. I was going to do more. I was going to be more. I was going to ask more (of myself and of other people). I was going to be a good Chardonnay. Clean. Crisp. Now.

When I tried this theory out on a few people, one person mentioned in an email:

>”…I wish you all the best with your quest to become
> chardonnay. When all you drink is fine wine it may
> seem as common as tapwater. Some prefer water to
> kool-aid. Some crave pure glacier water much more
> than kool-aid, or the finest of wines, chardonnay and
> champagne included…”

So, then I started thinking about my experiences with glaciers and glacier water. Now, I’ve been thinking I might aspire to be glacier water instead of Chardonnay. Here is what I think when I think about glacier water (based on specific visuals of the Dyea River, Skagway Alaska, the Yukon River and the Kluane River, Yukon Territory): Pure. Natural. Rich in minerals and nutrients (substantial but crystal clear). Earthy. Honest. Firm but fluid. Flexible. Travelling. Moving. Independent. Enduring. Essential. Real.

I tried my glacial water theory out on a few people. Yet another person considered that, effectively, I should be Chardonnay made from glacier water. Maybe I’ll open a winery in the Yukon…