What is the Wine Left Behind?

Gates "Only authentic affection and devoted love of the human sort survives behind each of our arrivals at life's ultimate destination."

This straightforward truth I recently came across is surely the basis for any number of explanations on how we ought live our lives. And while it got me thinking about the most important people in my own life and the gate I possess as I merrily stroll toward the ultimate destination, it got me thinking about the concept of the "wine collection".

Let's assume that at some point I do arrive at my ultimate destination. Let's further assume that it possesses a cognitive framework. Let's further assume that there will be an opportunity, maybe even a requirement, that I assess what I left in my wake back in that other dimension. I wonder if I'll be forced to reflect on the unopened bottles of wine I left behind.

"And what remains behind from your journey, Tom?"

I wonder if my inquisitor would be disappointed with me if at any time during my response I told them: "Quite a few unopened Aussie Shiraz, a lot of 2nd growth Bordeaux, and a number of cases of California bottlings."

Would I be judged poorly for even considering the wine I left behind to be something worthy of mentioning as I reflect on what remained of my short time here? Or would my Next Level Inquisitor insist that I don't understand the question?

Maybe I'd be admonished for having left behind, unused, any item best used to accompany the building of authentic affection and devoted love. If this is the case then maybe we wine lovers ought to keep our eye on the real prize: accumulating wines to be opened and consumed and eventually completely finished in the service of creating human bonds.

Outside of managing directors of Auction Houses, who would look merrily on a large collection of wine left behind when we arrive at our ultimate destination? Isn't it somewhat sad? Or maybe it's not so sad. Maybe it's not so sad if the bottles left behind after we depart merely represent an over optimistic view of the time the newly departed would have had for sharing, building bonds, and having wine in place to lubricate those gestures of affection and love.

The holidays are soon upon us. They almost always mark the time when we look to gather our friends and family and celebrate our connections to each other and our fellow man, not to mention our spiritual lives. More often than not we haul out wines from our collections more often and more furiously to accompany the celebrations. That's good. As it should be.

But I woke up this morning thinking that if indeed "only authentic affection and devoted love of the human sort survives behind each of our arrivals at life's ultimate destination," then I need to look well beyond the holiday season if I'm going to accompany the delivery of affection and devoted love with my Bordeaux, Shiraz and California gems. I need to use more time and find more places to use these simple items as an accompaniment to leaving behind the only thing that does get left behind.

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7 Responses

  1. larry schaffer - October 20, 2009

    Could not agree more . . . EVERY day is specal and should be treated as such. Those who wait for the ‘right time’ to open that special wine may end up running OUT of time to do so . . .
    Cheers!

  2. Dylan - October 20, 2009

    I agree, Tom. It’s important to enjoy the things you have while you have the time to enjoy them. However, it’s easy for a cellar to outlive ourselves, no matter how concerted our efforts to share in the joy of its collection. In that case, make sure that what’s left behind is also left with your warning–to share in as much of it as they can while they can.

  3. Erol Senel - October 20, 2009

    Yes, there are bottles that cost more, but why not celebrate the little milestones with those (i.e. – a good review at work, making it through a tough Monday, etc), rather than put it off or wait until holidays. Before you know it the wine could have passed, or worse you could have!
    My cousin takes this to heart and typically enjoys his vintage Harlan, Staglin, Gaja, Mouton, etc with a box of Aunt Annie’s Mac & Cheese OR a grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup (talk about a comfort meal).
    So drink up! Have some wine dinners with friends! Enjoy the fruits of your hard work over all these years. And before your journey ends, don’t leave without experiencing one of Chateau Pajzos’ wonderful Tokajis. They are magical.
    Finally, remember what the great Robert Mondavi said “Wine to me is passion. It’s family and friends. It’s warmth of heart and generosity of spirit.” Live life as a special occasion!

  4. The Wine Mule - October 20, 2009

    Wine is not a book, or a car, or a house, or a portfolio of investments. And I’m sure you’ll agree it is not a trophy. Wine is this transitory stuff, meant for the enjoyment of the living. Which is to say “us.” Wine, unless I’m mistaken, is meant for enjoyment, not for anything else. Follow your bliss, Tom.

  5. Wine Harlots - October 20, 2009

    This post resonates.
    It’s not about the stuff you accumulate, but the interactions with others.
    Whenever I miss out on a great bottle or vintage, I remind myself, they will always make more.

  6. Sweet_D - October 21, 2009

    I love my Shiraz!

  7. Laurel (aka CorkPopper) - October 21, 2009

    I absolutely agree with both your post and the comments to it. I’ve had people say to me, “Wow. You’re such a big fan of wine. Why don’t you have a big cellar (or at least a bigger wine fridge)?” My response is always that, yes, I love wine, but what I love is not collecting it; it’s the sharing of it with others.
    To me, wine is like music or food. When you hear that certain song or smell/taste that certain dish, it brings you back to a specific and special moment in time, and those memories are always better when you can share them with someone else. The same thing happens with wine, and it makes me amazingly happy to know with certainty that when I share that beautiful bottle of Bordeaux or Santa Rita Hills Pinot with my boyfriend/father/friend, I’m creating a sense memory for both of us. Nothing beats that. Cheers to all!


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