Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Notes of Pop Tart and Gravel w/ Dark Fruit

I finished The Ritual by Adam Nevill yesterday at the picnic table outside of work, on my lunch break.  I could not put it down.  I am not a horror books expert, but I think this was a really good one, if not a great one.  Mine is a bound copy, not an ebook, so I get to pass it on to friends, and that is fun.  If you keep a massive library and worry so much about people returning books that you don't give them away, you miss out.  Similarly, it's possible to "loan" or "give away" an ebook, but it's not the same as leaving a good book on someone's desk a work.

Last night I started The Accidental Connoisseur: An Irreverent Journey Through The Wine World, by Lawrence Osborne.  We’ve been drinking alot of wine lately, and have tried alot of bottles, from the Provisions wine club, from Trader Joe's, at restaurants. It’s funny how there is a layer or two or three with taste, when you’re dealing with wine. There’s what you like, and there’s the feeling you’re not sure that what you like is good, or that you are describing it properly.  The poetry of wine profiling usually entails a counter-intuitive combination of descriptors, some from geology, some from the orchard and garden, some from the pantry, some, like “leather,” from Judas Priest records.  ("Kippy, this Malbec tastes like Rob Halford's codpiece!") These are fun to read but when I try to compose them out loud, I feel like I am playing a baritone clarinet for the first time. I.E. like a total honky wanker.  As they said in college writing classes, "it's not earned."

There’s also the feeling that what you like might be driven by the name, the label, the price, a vague feeling about Old Europe, or the stone cold foxy lady you are with.  I know that I like the Bordeaux region wines we get from Trader Joe’s. 

The cabs that you first get for five dollars in college are broad and raw and dark and flood the tongue, and they are sweet and taste like they’ve got a reduced syrup of plum or dark cherry squirted in them just before the cork goes in.  Those cabs are the basis for alot of what I think about wine--sort of like basing your literary opinions on a couple of grandma’s Sydney Sheldon novels.  I like a drier kind of red than that, and that might be almost all I can intelligently say. 

Later that night I walked along the beach to the lonely church of Portonovo and at a restaurant nearby I drank a cold green Verdicchio.  Wine is 99 percent psychological, a creation of where you are and with whom.  I sat in the shadow of the odd mountain and drank my Verdicchio alone, feeling the first snail-like tendrils of my own taste asserting themselves through an unusual chain of associations: the Greeks, Visions of Johanna, the Zen of juggling, and the incomprehensible postulates of chaos theory. (from The Accidental Connoisseur, by Lawrence Osborne.)
I often say, “I really like this book.” And that’s all.  I liked every movie I saw when I was eight, as well.  I like the transitions between kinds of books, which is why I only read one book at a time. A baseball book followed by a supernatural horror book, followed by a long wine essay.  The last book I was unable to finish was by a vintage British mystery writer.  It was the dullest book I have ever tried to read.  Yet, I know it was a formative sort of mystery, written by a woman in a then very male literary world.  I almost always finish books.  One sentence that appears and reappears in my journal is "I wonder what I am going to read next."

I like this wine.
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