“Get” Marcillac

Is there a point in getting the wine? Understanding something is necessarily constrained by the very limited linguistic frameworks within which we operate. I do a lot of tutored tastings and I realise that although we may all use the same words in describing a wine we may mean quite different things by them. Language is an impure form of description: in tasting notes we use ten words where one will do and we never get close to the heart of the wine. Oh yes, we can anatomise every single detail and pile up the adjectives, but the words are just cold echoes of the emotions we feel when we taste the wine. If you listen to classical music do you appreciate it more by pulling it apart intellectually or do you allow yourself to be swept up in the flow and feel it on the pulses? The time I get the wine (or the picture, or the poem, or the music) is when I am least critical, least straining after meaning, then I don’t “get the wine” - it “gets me”. I also think, whilst we are in philosophic mode, that the wine in the glass is only one stage in a complex transformative process. The so-called objective transformations are the result of what happens to the grapes in the vineyard and in the winery. But the final transformation is the response to tasting the wine itself and where that experience takes the individual taster. It is difficult to share these responses, as I’ve mentioned, because language is an insufficiently sensitive instrument. I admire Parker, for example, in one major respect. When he really loves a wine his descriptive powers completely desert him and the tasting note collapses in on itself; he’ll start gibbering and saying Wow! Tasting doesn’t just involve the usual “perceptive” senses; our sense of excitement, our sense of pleasure and our sense of imagination brings the wine ineluctably to life. And that’s something worth getting.

Posted by Doug on 11-Jan-2008. Permalink
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