Thursday, May 21, 2009

If Only I Had Known

Just a few minutes ago, I passed through my home without one thought of you but somewhere between washing the days grime from my face and passing through the kitchen still lingering with the evening dinner aromas, my mind flickered, a faint memory, a night of which I have barely spoken…my night with you, the way I had longed for it and the way it went horribly wrong.

I’m not romantic by nature but there is something fascinating about the way these things happen, they way one look, one touch or how something as harmless as an invitation to dinner can change forever what you thought you would…or would not do. How quickly we can get lost, lose our footing and stumble into something we were in no way ready for…my night with you, that night…I let myself stumble and I spend more time than I care to admit thinking about it.

I have wanted you for as long as I can remember, thought about touching you, having your scent envelop me, have my breath smell of you, feel your power overtake me and feel myself softening beneath your weight. I had let my mind spin a wondrous stories about how it may happen, where we would be, who might be with us, when I would know, know the second it was about to happen…when you were ready to surrender, open up and let me take you in.

To harbor such desire for so long, to let your mind play while your body is unable to..only makes the flame hotter, makes the longing more deliciously painful, even thinking of those years before that night, make me wish I could go back there…pay closer attention, know what I wanted more, know what part of you I might linger over the longest…would I spend my, much ached for seconds hovering over you…taking deep lung filling smells, let your aroma seep deep inside of me, saturate me….or would I let my tongue be my memory, let your taste spread all over me and be the one that I would measure all others against? Flashes, fantasies, seconds, minutes, hours…all you, they all belonged to you, and it was all lost, in one night.

Have you ever wanted someone so bad that you quiver at the very thought of it, have a physical reaction to the mere idea of being close enough to smell their hair, taste the salt on their skin, dreamed of that first second when your lips touched…the way your heart pounds and breathing gets more labored and desperate…now what if you had no idea it was them?

My issue? Blind tastings.

Now there has been all kinds of chatter on the internets about bloggers, wine critics and credibility as of late, and one thing that keeps flashing before my skimming of the chatter eyes….”the only way to truly judge a wine fairly is to taste it blind” and to that I have to say bullshit, or sort of bullshit. To remove the acquisition aspect of some wines is like making love to that person you have been wanting for years…with the lights off. Would it mean as much if you had no idea who it was? It may not change the actual physical feeling but part of the pleasure is in the “having” of it…with them. So okay, you just made love to someone, it was nice…maybe not the best you have had, but viola, you turn on the lights and it’s Angelina Jolie…change anything….would it change anything if the lights were on BEFORE?! Okay, I’m being sexist, for the ladies lets imagine Denzel Washington or George Clooney…although speaking as a hetero female, Angelina…just sayin’.

I was invited to a dinner a couple of years ago, the wines were tasted blind and we were given a check off sheet, with almost all the questions being ones that had you looking for flaws, we ran through the wines….rather quickly as I recall, checking off all the less than nice things we found in the wines, only after we had completed our “sheets” were we able to see what we were tasting….Comte de Vogue Burgundy…multiple vintages.

Now had we not been led to pick the wines apart, had we seen what it was that we were tasting I think the actual “reviews” would have been truer…..and more honest. We weren’t looking for anything lovely, or subtle. We were blind tasting red wines with a scorecard of “how much of this yucky stuff did you find”…it was retarded and lives in infamy as one of the longest most crushing nights of my life. Part of it is I am a Burgundy lover, had I known what I was tasting I might have been paying more attention, if I had been given like a few positive things to look for I may have had different answers and the biggest part was being surrounded by passionless people that seemed to relish in ripping these wines, (even blindly) a new one…ick, boo and hiss.

If only I had known….known it was…you.


Nancy Deprez said...

I too thought the picking apart was silly - I just wanted to drink the wines and not listen to the chatter!

I think the organizer dude did notice at the end I was just drinking the wines, liking them all, and blocking out the noise!

Agree with your assessment. Frinstance, I'm going to a wedding this weekend. I am not going "blind" - not knowing whose wedding it is, and I'm not going there to critique what I didn't like about the event. I'm going there knowing fully it is a friend and I want to see this aspect of my friend, and I want to enjoy all its uniqueness.

I think that is how wine should be approached also - knowing who/what it is, and understanding it, and ultimately, enjoying it in its full glory.

Nancy Deprez said...

Oh, and thank you for the nice eye candy pics. Nice way to start the Friday.

John M. Kelly said...

Samantha, I'm with you on this one. Blind tastings have their place, for example in the winery when I'm trying to assess the results of my punchdown trials, or dried stem experiments - or when I'm fine-tuning the amount of Syrah and Tannat in my red blend. I would prefer if professional wine judges and reviewers tasted blind. I think blind tastings are of value to anyone learnignt he ropes of wine evaluation and developing a vocabulary.

Beyond this narrow set of circumstances I have no idea why people who claim to enjoy wine would ever taste blind. Blind tasting adds a level of stress that is directly opposed to the pleasure principle. Soulless clinical evaluation ain't sexy. The Vogue tasting you describe borders on the criminal.

I like your analogy, but it breaks down in the end: when it comes to wine, the worst I've ever had was BAD.

Samantha Dugan said...

Yeah, those guys were crank yankers...could not get out of there fast enough. You know, I have this rule, I don't eat with people I don't like,(family not included) so all those supplier dinners, I don't go, the biggest reason is because of people like that....was like wlaking into a cock-n-balls convention argh! It was like watching a pack of wild, slobbering dogs rip something apart then look around to get each other's approval...vile.

First of all I wanted to thank you for posting a link to one of my blogs on Steve Heimoff's post about distributors....feel all rock star!
So I have a question for you, as a you would prefer that critics taste blind, but what about retail buyers? I kinda get my crunders in a wad about this from time to the way we buy at our shop is all by department heads tasting and buying the wines, never by score or does that make us critic in a way? We write stories and tasting notes for the floor and a newsletter and sell on the sales floor...should retailers taste blind as well? I've never asked a winemaker that but now that I got ya...whadda ya say?

(Oh and I don't get my crunders bunched about the wish for critics to taste blind...just not sure what makes one a "critic" the term is lost on me)

Nancy Deprez said...

I feel I can taste non-blind, and still be very objective.

KJ said...

Sweet! Wine-Erotica....... ;)

I've been on your side for quite a while, the idea that blind tasting a wine allows a reviewer/expert to properly evaluate a wine without bias and render judgment as to its intrinsic worth is rubbish. Wine is inextricably linked to its place and producer and cannot be evaluated without this knowledge. I agree there is benefit to blind tasting when one is learning about wine but otherwise it has no place, and should be reserved for douchebags measuring the size of their oenological prowess.

Great post by the way.......

Samantha Dugan said...

Welcome! And thanks for the kind words, from time to time I like to spice it up a bit (blush) wine is one of my true it is not that big a stretch!
Blind tasting is just one of those, "what the hell is the point?" deals for me...and when you are talking about drinking Vogue Musigny, well that was just an asshole move if ever there was one. The one little nugget I left out of the story....the dude was an winemaker, one that makes Pinot Noir, so his blind tasting, (and checkoff sheet of flaws) was TOTAL BS, nothing very honest there if you ask me. Thanks for reading!

John M. Kelly said...

Samantha - I've been thinking about your question for a couple of days, and the issue for a couple of decades. Honestly I've come to the point where I believe that there are very few proper uses for blind tasting.

Above I mentioned the experimental and instructional settings where blind tasting is necessary and helpful. I would add to these sommelier certification and wine competitions. But I don't expect critics to develop a marketable publication on the basis of pure blind tasting -- what a dry and uninteresting read that would make, though it might fill a niche.

And I see absolutely no value in retailers tasting blind, unless it is in-house and after-hours: along the lines of "Hey we bagged a couple of Pinots and guess what, we all picked the $20 Cuiver Reserve Chateau Bottled Nuit San Wogga Wogga over the Kosta Browne! Who'da thunk it? (Well, me -- but that's just me.)

Retailers have real money tied up in inventory. So far as I am concerned, anything that helps you move that inventory is fair game. For some wines and customers it's about scores, advertising and price. For others it is a story that goes with the wine. That story usually starts with "there's great juice in this bottle" and is helped by "pretty cool label, huh?"

Take it from there: "The proprietors were the nicest people I met when I was travelling in [insert wine region here]." "These guys have spent cubic dollars on their vineyards and winemaking." "When this guy isn't in the cellar he is either totally baked or out surfing." And on and on. Even "The owner is the biggest douche I ever met, but this wine is heavenly" is a story that will connect with someone. And maybe somewhere in that panoply of storytelling there is a place for "this wine rocked a blind tasting we had the other night."

First, sell wine.

Samantha Dugan said...

Thanks for mulling that over...shit, I don't even think about the things I say for a couple of days! So I appreciate the effort.
I too think there is a place for blind tasting, (trust me, French winemakers love the "name that wine" game, cannot think of a trip where some French dude was NOT trying to stump us....super fun in a freezing cellar, in Burgundy, in like February I assure you) but for things like you pointed out, and in your job I am sure it is a must, not for fun and not at all for the enjoyment of wine!

I think what bugs me about it is that it perpetuates the part of wine that I loathe...the snobby, "look how much I know" part, just grates on me and is not at all welcoming to those that might still be getting their footing/ one wants to look like a doofus so many won't even try...thing is, you don't need to know if the slope was North facing to enjoy a bottle of wine, or be a wine lover.
Who knows, maybe I just hate being surrounded by a bunch of Cliff Clavens!
Thanks for answering my question!