Thursday, July 18, 2013

wine + meditation

I took a break from wine classes this quarter to try a meditation class. I'm constantly multi-tasking and believe this is leading to additional stress and anxiety in my life. I've also heard meditation can improve focus for people with ADD, and I'm weaning off my meds. So this seemed like a good move, even if it meant taking a break from organized drinking.

During our first class, we tried meditative eating. The instructor stretched out a single grape into a seven minute guided meditation. She had us consider the soil it came from, the work it took to grow the grape and to get it to the store, the texture of the grape, the smell and, finally, the taste. Focusing all my energy on this one grape was illuminating. Not only did it elevate the experience of eating, it also allowed me to appreciate the grape on a level I never thought possible.

Naturally, it wouldn't be long before I was doing this with wine.

I opened a nice bottle (Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut 2011 Merlot), poured myself a glass and meditated on the wine before me. I thought it would be a wonderful experience.

I was super fucking right.

Our image of the solo drinker is a sad one. Some guy in a bar whining to the barkeep, a girl with vodka in a water bottle tucked beneath her pillow to cope at night. But in these scenarios, the drinking itself is never the purpose. It's the forgetting, the catharsis, the emotional numbing.

But meditative drinking, like meditative eating, proved to be a spiritual experience because the attention was on the act itself. Focusing on the weight of the glass in my hand, the color of the wine (it helps that burgundy is my second favorite color, after gold. And gold is sort of the color of white wine. So.), everyone who put time and effort into the process of growing the grapes and making the wine, everyone who helped in the discovery and refining of these techniques. The smell, and my breath as I exhaled, the purposeful breathing that smelling is, the marvel of smelling at all. Evolutionarily, smell is basically obsolete for humans. It now has no purpose but pleasure, really. The nose can be the clitoris of the face, if you let it. Finally, the taste, and not just the taste, but the way the wine made my mouth feel. The wonder of salivating.

The last parts, the look and smell and taste, I realized, are nothing more than a tasting note. And THEN I realized, I did a tasting note of this wine for class last quarter, and had it saved but not published under the title "oh I fancy huh" because I so rarely drink wine over $8! (this was a 5 cent wine sale splurge, hence the two bottles). In addition to this wholly whimsical post, below please find a proper tasting note for your future reference/pretension.

Finally, I wondered if I might enjoy bringing a meditative experience to more activities. So before I wrote this post, I took a moment and rested my hands on my keyboard, appreciating the opportunity to write and communicate and add purpose to my consumption of beverages. It, too, was truly wonderful.

I understand that I sound like quite a dick.

I'm going to go meditate on that.

Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut 2011 Merlot
Sonoma County, CA
$20.99, 13.5% ABV

Appearance: A normal red wine in the glass. Only the tiniest bit transparent, mostly opaque. Ruby red with a little purpley-blue.

Nose: Earth aromas of forest floor and oak alongside black cherry, blackberry and a smoke. A little caramel, coconut and cedar as well.

Palate: Dry wine with sweetness at the tip of the tongue. Fruit-forward with a little raspberry in addition to the black cherry and blackberry. Lots of earth and smoke here as well. Finish is medium to long, especially since the caramel and coconut really hang on the alcohol. Both acidity and tannins and low to medium, and the quality of the tannins are smooth and round.

Conclusion: I'd call this wine layered but not complex. It is straightforward in its many aromatics, which hit fruit and earth and winemaking right on the head. To enhance the smoke, pair with grilled meats in a lighter marinade or chipotle tacos.

1 comment:

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