Now let’s get back to wine.First of all wine (grape wine) to me conjures up the Mediterranean. Whenever I look at the ocean here, I think of Homer who would always refer to the “wine-red sea”. That was 2.800 years ago for those of you who have not read the Illiad. Ever since then wine, olive oil and bread have represented the essential elements of Mediterranean life. That is what Homer, Heracleitus, Marcus Aurelius, Leonardo Da Vinci and Balzac, Manzoni, Cervantes, Garcia Lorca and countless others were were nourished on. When you drink, part of what you drink is the association with another world or worlds. If I were more familiar with 山西, maybe when I drink 汾酒 I would think of 山西 bankers, who like the Lombards, or the Fuggers of Germany or the Rotschilds dominated the financial world of half a continent. Maybe I would think of various Central Asian or Northern Asian people who have come through 山西. Maybe I would think of 三国演义 and think of battles. But I do not have enough knowledge and culture to do that. But I want to visit 平遥 and soak up the local flavour. Meanwhile I am left with red wine. I consider it the most noble drink. I drink it with any food. I drink it with fish although they say that one should rink white wine with fish. Nonsense. I do not believe that wine needs to accompany a dish. The wine stands on its own. The dish stands on its own. I have drunk red wine with Japanese food, Chinese food and have always enjoyed it. Later I will tell the story of my encounter with a group of wine lovers in a small town on the island of Kyushu in Japan. These people had the most amazing wine collection I have ever seen, in a small little Japanese town. And they were individuals who were friends and owners of a sushi restaurant, a famous bean curd restaurant and a bar on the beach. But that story will come later. Let me just say that wine normally refers to drinks that are between 11 and 15% in alcohol content. Stronger wine based drinks like Sherry (Jerez) or Port or Cinzano (Vermouth) are not really wine. In my next post I will get into the differences between the different types of grapes and the different producing regions. I will get into what I like. But, let me make it clear, that in wine “de gustibus non disputandum est”. You cannot discuss taste. People like what they like.
Steve “Man does not belong to his language or to his race, he belongs to himself alone, for he is a free being, a moral being.” Ernest Renan, Sorbonne 1881