God & the Idea of the Perfect Wine

Over at Mark Squires’ Forum on erobertparker.com they are, once again, discussing the notion of a "perfect wine." I love this kind of discussion: Can a wine be perfect? What makes a "perfect" wine?

One thing that everyone agrees upon is that there is no objective measure of a wine’s quality, let alone the qualities that make it "perfect". That is of course what makes this debate/discussion even remotely possible. When Robert Parker or the Wine Spectator rate a wine 100 Points (meaning perfect) I can guarantee they are wrong about that wine. Just ask 3 other people if the wine is perfect. If one says "no" well…discussion over.

But that’s a lame point to make because it’s so obvious.

What also interests me about the notion of a "perfect wine" is the implication such a score holds for marketing the bottle. I’ve never had the opportunity to help market a wine that scored 100 points from a top reviewer…from any reviewer for that matter. However, I can tell you what it would amount to. You switch from trying to get it on the shelf then helping sell the wine, to deciding who gets to sell it and who gets to buy it. That too can be a tricky question. But, it’s not hard work.

In the end, any questions or discussion concerning a "Perfect" wine is at heart a philosophical discussion.

Perhaps a good place to start is with Rene Descarte who explained:

      * I am subject to doubt; therefore I am imperfect 
* I have the "idea" of "the perfect." This ideas must come from a perfect Being (God).

* The analysis of the idea of "the perfect" includes the existence of the perfect being

So I ask myself, if I am willing to offer a perfect score to a wine, must I myself be perfect? Or more to the point, if I declare a wine perfect, do I therefore have perfect expectations for wine and a perfect relationship with wine in general. I think my audacity in declaring a wine perfect must lead me to answer these questions in the affirmative: yes, I do have perfect expectations for wine and a perfect relationship with wine. So perhaps the original question that wasn’t quite on point can be addressed: Yes, I am perfect insofar as I am the originator of the "idea" of perfect and since I am willing to proclaim that perfection is a possibility. Does this also mean there is no God…or no need for God?

I think Descarte would have observed those willing to offer perfect scores to a wine and declared, "But what does it mean that you have no doubts about this wine? Is this not more of a comment upon the your nature than the wine’s?"

Had he been a student of wine he may have further asked, assuming the obvious that at some point in the life of the perfect wine it will no longer be perfect, if "perfection", by nature, is something that can also be fleeting?

When it comes to wine, by far the more important question is whether or not perfection is attainable, rather than if a particular wine is perfect or what qualities a perfect wine possesses. Yet, this most important of questions is rarely dwelled upon after a simple yes or no is the response. The reason, I think, we don’t dwell long on the possibility of perfection goes back to Descarte’s profound observation that: "    The analysis of the idea of "the perfect" includes the existence of the perfect being."

Posted In: Rating Wine


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