Map and corkscrew!
In his column in last Sunday’s New York Times, Eric Asimov makes this astute observation:
“To drink only the best-known wines from time-honored regions is a little like eating in the same restaurants over and over. You can’t go wrong, perhaps, but without the rewards of exploration, you are missing out on so much more.”
-- Eric Asimov, The New York Times, 15 January, 2012
It’s one of those things that should go without saying, but that’s still a great reminder — even (or especially) for those of us whose métier and avowed mission it is to boldly seek out new flavor frontiers, to boldly go…
Pick your metaphor — restaurants, movies, books, music, hotels, roads, vacations…. It actually takes an “act” of consciousness, a little thought, to open the doors and windows in our brains. It’s easy to get so hell-bent on the daily trudge, so dialed in on the stuff that’s supposed to be “important,” that we forget to look around, to ask questions, to see, smell, hear and taste even an nth of what’s within reach, not to mention just around the next bend. Far too easy to just go with what we know, reach for the assurance of the same ol', same ol' tried and true.
It also requires a little extra effort and attention to bypass the freeways of “time-honored” and renowned, keeping instead to the two-lane where homegrown, bedrock flavors grow and the dialect is purely local. But you can’t beat the scenery. Not to mention the broadening of perspective, deepening of lexicon and plain old, amazing pleasure of honing your senses with new adventures.
January doldrums? Sure, if you want. But winter, like anything, is what you make it. So, make it a vacation, every bottle is an opportunity. Whether it’s godello from Rias Baixas, garnacha from Catalunya, gamay from the Val d’Aosta, tannat from Argentina, Negrette from Fronton, encruzado from the Dão — or any of literally thousands of flavors just waiting to be discovered, all you need to do is choose.
It’s a mighty big world. Lace up your shoes, get out your map and corkscrew, get outta the door, light out and look all around … the glass is empty — fill it!