On Wine, Blogs and the Prospect of Losing One’s Mind.

I woke today, went downstairs and began my reading as I drank my coffee. I came across a story that detailed the plight of folks who have lost significant memories due to ailments of the brain. It put me in a sour mood because it reminded me that the only tangible things we possess that are of really great value are our memories. And I was struck at just how important it is to create and keep memories that delight us, sustain us and remind us who we are, where we have been and who we love.


I was further reminded that wine is a good metaphor for the import of memories and that this wine blog will one day serve as a stockpile of pointers to important memories of my own.

As for wine, while tangible for a time, it soon loses its concrete structure and becomes something we had. Corton Yet, it still remains with us as, hopefully, a marker for a memory. I associate certain wines with certain events almost always revolving around people I love and moments I cherish. I want more of these.

As I write this, I'm still struck with fear that I might one day lose my memory. But what if I can create a vast trove of memories of people and places and events so deep and dense that even with an ailment that suppresses my access to these memories they can't all be vanquished? That seems like a good defense against despair.

Vosne Last night I ate with friends at Ad Hoc in Yountville in Napa Valley. It was Fried Chicken night at the one-trick restaurant where a single prix fixe menu is available to all. So, it was crowded. At my table the Deutz Champagne accompanied a friend's tale of his recent adventures in Thailand and Laos. He returned no worse than when he left with tales of sordid and remarkable events. From there a Corton Charlemagne Grand Cru marked our discussion of the demise of Bin Laden as well as tales from the hunter at our table of the process for bringing down big game in Africa. I sipped on a 2005 Vosne Romanee from Robert Arnoux as I watched an entire table dive deep into a platter of perfectly fried chicken while we all discussed the merits of brining, frying with peanut oil and thte different virtues of dark vs white meat. The bottle of 2000 Lynch Bages rounded the table, Lynch followed by a Chappellet Cabernet Sauvignon, and accompanied discussion of the accouterments of marriage and love. Finally, an Austrian dessert wine got to the table just in time to prompt a roundtable discussion of how we might entice Thomas Keller to sign the night's menu for one of our dining companions who had long waited to taste the fried chicken at Ad Hoc. The various opinions and plans laid out to accomplish this eventually led our celebrity-focused dining companion to find equal happiness in having our server sign her menu.

Chicken It's all memory now. But it does remain real and tangible. And the wines, though consummed and gone, remain real and I once again have proof that the real great purpose of a bottle of wine is to mark a moment or two.

And it strikes me further that this blog will serve the same purpose. Now in its seventh year of existence, FERMENTATION: The Daily Wine Blog appears to have developed a positive reputation. That's nice. But what's nicer is that it will always provide me with a diarist's index. While not a comprehensive recount of these last seven years and those to come, it is a place where I can and will be able to go to recall memories of places I've been. This will be particularly important if one day I lose my mind.

6 Responses

  1. nick - May 3, 2011

    didn’t read. pictures made my eyes hurt.

  2. Tom Wark - May 3, 2011

    Memories can often be blurry.

  3. Samantha Dugan - May 3, 2011

    Okay I love this. I’ve long since given up trying to be a “wine blogger” and instead just created a place where I share my thoughts, meals, wines, heart….even the sad bits that while might not make for fun morning reading are real and part of who I am. My blog has become a living journal for me, marking and documenting in a way the significant moments, meals, wines and people that all become a part of me and my story….I am so grateful to have that place and the people that care enough to follow me there.
    Some of the best memories I have are on my blog and….many of them are “blurry”.

  4. Marcia Amara - May 3, 2011

    From the very first line I knew I’d like the post.
    The pics complement the idea of your wise writing. Well done!
    Thank you for that Tom!

  5. Marcia - May 3, 2011

    Completely agree… Wines serve as memory markers for good times with friends and family. They accent specific memories of the food served. Yes, sometimes a bit blurry. Who cares? The sentiment is crystal clear.

  6. Damien - May 10, 2011

    Yes, I have a lot of good memories that are blurry..

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