The Stress of Dreams, from Koonunga Hill to Bordeaux

Like millions of Americans, I did not win the megamillions lottery yesterday. Truthfully, I didn’t even buy a ticket, so my chances of winning were slightly less than most people’s. But that didn’t stop me from dreaming about what I would do with that unfathomable, almost obscene amount of money. Most of my fantasies began and ended with extravagant and copious travel. But they also included giving to charity and making my close friends and family fabulously wealthy. For a few days a lot of people participated in this exercise of hypothetical musing; if money were no object, what would I do with my life?

For years I’ve been reading about, and wondering about the experience of tasting a premiere cru Bordeaux, specifically, Haut-Brion; though, truth be told, I’d certainly not pass up the opportunity to try a Chateau Margaux. Priced between $1200 and $1400 a bottle, it’s doubtful I will ever know what they taste like. But even if I saved up a dollar a day for the next 1400 days, I wonder how tasting the greatest wine in the world would effect me. Is it possible that a wine that great would ruin all other wines for me forever? That’s not an unrealistic fear. A bottle of Yellow Tail Shiraz is quite satisfactory, if it’s all we know.

Penfold's Koonunga Hill Shiraz

Last night I opened a bottle of 2009 Penfold’s Koonunga Hill Shiraz. The aromas of this dark garnet wine were meaty, with hints of vanilla. It tasted of bright cherries, with just enough acidity to give it an olive flavor. The tannins were velvety smooth. It was heavy enough to stand up to the roast beef. For under ten bucks, it was a great little week night wine treat.

Several years ago I read the book Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. According to the book, studies have shown that the happiest people are those firmly in the middle-class. People with enough money to meet their basic needs, but not so much that they spend a lot of time thinking and worrying about their money, have the least amount of stress, and the most amount of happiness in their lives.

Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert

Even though I didn’t win hundreds of millions of dollars yesterday, I can still do the things I fantasized about. I can still give to charities, just on a much smaller scale. I can still travel, within a careful budget. I can still do a lot of things for my close friends and family to make them happy. For example, this week, I will not be making my loved ones’ lives more stressful by encumbering them with fabulous wealth…You’re welcome.

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