This is a subject that has been on my mind a lot the past couple days, “The next best thing” not even runner up really. Runner up holds some distinction, like it was close, a tight battle but one just edged out the other. With the next best thing there is a sad, almost conciliatory feeling. Like, “This was the best! Oh, but we have this too” um, yay? As someone that has more often than I’d like to admit been on the other side of that, “Oh, okay, you’ll do” face, I can tell you, sucks. Finding myself here again, at 41 when I had mistakenly stumbled into to fluffy little bubble of delusion, that thinking there might be something a wee bit special about me only to have a someone shove a massive Snow White like mirror in my face, a reminder that there is….and will likely forever be, someone more special and better than I. Something I must confess has had me retreating, lost in my own thoughts of damnation and accusation. Blaming myself for not being…I don’t know what, prettier, smarter, funnier, more passionate, engaging, compelling, sweet…all of it. Yup kids, while I was writing wine porn and answering your questions I did so with this thick boot of, “You aren’t even close to being good enough” across my throat, and I can see and feel it in my responses. Matter of fact, I think that boot has been hovering for a bit now, threatening to close in at any second, making me flinch, and choose my words way too fucking carefully. For what? Enough….
“I think I would rather drink a magnum of fartwater than a glass of that Pinotage” words that not only came out of my mouth, and more than once, but showed up in my Facebook feed today after tasting through a flight of five wines from the southern hemisphere. I had run through the wines with our newest buyer, one that was hosting his first real tasting this afternoon. He was excited and nervous, anxious but geared up to talk about these wines that he was recently put in charge of. Argentine Malbec, Pinotage from South Africa, Tannat from Uruguay, Shiraz from Australia and a Carmenere from Chile, yeah….tough to be the new guy. The selections chosen were sound, for what they are, (and if you think this somewhat reflective post is going to someway defend Pinotage, you are sadly mistaken. Stuff is utter crap. Sorry. Fartwater wins) solid representations of those varieties from those areas, but for me wines that would convert me to a beer or cocktail drinker for life. Funky, sweet, oaky, oddly herbal and as was the case with the Tannat, tannic as fuck. My face was scrunchie from wine one to the end and I even sampled a left bottle of Armagnac to rid my palate of the gunk that was left behind. Gack. I was annoyed, not at our greenhorn of a wine buyer, he had done his job and done it perfectly. No, it was the wines that had my face snarled and me scurrying to kill the leftover bits of “flavor” that clung to my palate like poo on my shoe. So here’s the thing, some people not only bought those wines, the “poo on my shoe” wines, they loved them. Even had one dude say, “After that Pinotage that was so lovely I found the Tannat harsh”…lovely? That Pinotage?! Say huh?
That taste thing, well none of us has cornered the market on it, nor will we ever. Taste, be it in food, wine, music, writing, sex, talent…no one person is detached enough from their own, “taste” to be an all-knowing judge of what’s "the best". Oh, there are lots of asshats out there that will try and out huff the next, yelling louder and tossing about more stored factoids to prove what they know, asshats are like that but, they get it wrong just as much as they get right. Maybe not in the technical sense, facts is facts but…if I hated those wines, and those others loved them, who’s right? It is all so bloody subjective. And maybe I'm just a weirdo in that "the best" is never the first thing that pops into my mind, I want interesting, pure, honest and true. The more I thought about those wines that scrunchied my face, the more rotten I felt for being so judgmental about them. Thumbs down, glass down, 82 points, means nothing when there are people with a glass of something that speaks to them, a post that makes your heart pound, a fragile heart that gets splayed across the internet…hoping to find the right palate to fall upon.
“The best” is measured only by what, who, the flavors that dig into you. As sad and deflated as I was earlier this week by this notion, I now find myself empowered by it. Me, my wines, even the stooped shit I do here, they will be judged by others, deemed “not good enough”…for whatever reason but, there are a few of you that get me, my wines, my waxing on wine and understand that behind this “Next Best Thing” face there is a heart, a woman, that wants nothing more than to please you….and I have to concede that others never will. I keep thinking about that gentleman that thought my much hated Pinotage was lovely, keep thinking and holding on to the fact that maybe, just maybe, someday, there will be someone that reads something here and says, “That was lovely” without the “But there might something better:”….
Next best or otherwise....
So to the "helpful" internet stalker/bully that keeps stuffing my email box for this blog I would like to say, Please go away. Go read all those other blogs that currently have the content you are seeking, the ones you keep sending me links and reviews of. I didn't read them before, won't be reading them now, nor will I be changing anything about what I do here to suit you or anyone else. Now kindly stay away and forcefully go fuck yourself.
Thanks so much
Hugs and kisses