This past weekend I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in Passport Weekend in El Dorado wine country. My good friend, Shelly and I got to spend many hours traipsing through the beautiful rolling, green foothills of the Sierra, visiting wineries and tasting wines. There were many great little finds, but we both agreed our favorite winery of the weekend was Windwalker in Fair Play. There we tasted a non-traditional blend, Sierra Sunset. It is made with Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, and Tempronillo grapes. These grapes are not from the same region of origin; they are not even from the same country of origin. Syrah is originally from France’s Rhone Valley. Zinfandel is considered America’s grape, even though it is from Croatia. Sangiovese originates from Tuscany Italy. Tempronillo is from Spain’s La Rioja region. This wonderful, multi-national blend had flavors of clove and sour cherries. It was medium bodied and had a good crisp acidity. At $10.95 a bottle, it was the best value of the weekend.
Currently, I am reading the book, Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, The author is a Nobel-prize winning, research psychologist. His book explains the human mind in terms of two systems, fast thinking and slow thinking. Many of his ideas are very thought provoking, some thought threatening. He describes us as ‘pattern seekers, believers in a coherent world,’ (p.115) We naturally interpret our experiences in terms of cause and effect and are ‘far too willing to reject the belief that much of what we see in life is random.’ (p.117) When I read or hear things like this, I wonder, ‘isn’t life richer and more meaningful if we think of it as not random, but intentional?’ His ideas certainly fly in the face of the old axiom, ‘everything happens for a reason.’
As we left Windwalker winery, we drove past the vineyards and saw all the early spring vines trellised, naked in a row. Maybe because it was the weekend after Easter, the sight struck me as seeing vines strung up, sacrificing their grapes for our delicious wine. God bless the grapes.
It is very comforting to think that everything happens for a reason. Fate controls our lives and we are only witnessing what is meant to be. It makes it much easier to accept things with that way of thinking, and at first glance seems to make life more meaningful. On the other hand, if everything is random, and we are juxtaposing random facts together to create meaning, is that any less rich? In fact, isn’t that the definition of any art? A musical composition is blending the various elements of music, notes, chords, dynamics, tempo, in a new way to create something meaningful. Writing is the blending of words and ideas in a way that has not been done before. That is the creative process. Creating a narrative out of random events is how we give our own lives meaning. The medium is one’s own individual life, and the interpretation of one’s life is the art.
In the world of wine, a great Bordeaux blend is a great wine. But Sierra Sunset is far from a classic blend. It is an interesting juxtaposition of international grapes that has been interpreted beautifully.