Notes from the Cellar : Easy street | PCC Natural Markets

Easy street


February 2007

by Jeff Cox, Wine and Beer Merchandiser

The new Lexus LS can parallel park itself. Amazing. When you consider everything a fully loaded car can do these days, driving requires little effort beyond simply going along for the ride, freeing us to interface with the other devices that “manage” our lifestyles —Blackberries, cell phones, iPods, laptops, et cetera.

But ease may be our undoing. As we allow machines to perform daily tasks, we lose the ability to do them ourselves. Which way is north? What happens when the damned thing breaks or the batteries go south? Who dares step out with naught but the sound of the wind and one’s own thoughts?

I don’t think our age can produce a Newton, a Tolstoi or a Mozart. The mechanics of work were far more demanding back then. But that simple, put-on-your-thinking-cap sort of labor required a depth of thought and commitment that resulted in the profundity and eloquence of the completed work. Subtract the rigors of the journey and you diminish the richness of the arrival — and the liberty of having gotten there under your own steam.

What’s that have to do with wine? Plenty. Some wines are easy — ripe, lavishly flavored, “new world” wines, the kind that get big scores from the illuminati. They offer something like watching TV from an easy chair, remote in hand. They are obvious, imposing, bellowing their brazen charms for even the most oblivious to hear.

But, one needn’t yell when one has something to say. Several friends and I shared a bottle of Burgundy the other day. The color wasn’t imposing but a pale sort of ruby garnet, what some might dismiss as “light.”

But, as one friend observed, there was an amazing depth and complexity in the color, inviting a second and a third glance, foreshadowing the aromas and flavors to come. The aromas and flavors spoke at a conversational level, even required one to lean forward to hear at times, but rewarded the attention with a portrait of a unique place and the man whose passion is turning that essence into wine.

It’s a matter of choice, as always. Skip to the final chapter to find out how the story ends, or savor the story itself. The world is your oyster — already shucked, if you like. It just tastes better when you shuck it yourself.

Jeff Cox

About the author

Jeff Cox is the wine and beer merchandiser at PCC. Over the years, he's built close relationships with vineyards worldwide and in our neck of the woods. He's even worked with select local vineyards to create some of the spectacular wines we carry.

In addition to this monthly column, check out his featured wines list.