As Literal as Weights; as Figurative as Wine

Chateau de La Perriere Brouilly, 2009The other day I was in the gym lifting weights like I’ve been doing for the past 25 years (taking time out for meals, of course) when I heard what is perhaps the worst training tip ever. The guy next to me was telling his friend, ‘Lift the weights out in front of your body…but not literally.’ When it comes to lifting weights, there’s nothing figurative about it. If weight lifting isn’t literal, I don’t know what is.

Last May, the food and wine hedonist, a trained sommelier, wrote a blog about wine, giving his reasons for not writing about wine. His main reason is that wine is a subjective experience. In a sense that’s absolutely true. The average human can perceive 1000 aromas, and we each perceive them a little differently. There are 200 different aromas that can be found in wine.

When I smelled the Jean-Claude DeBeaune Chateau de la Perriere, 2009 Beaujolais last night, it was as if I had put my nose in a bouquet of red and purple flowers that were so fresh, they had a small amount of soil still on their stems. The flavor was like a mouthful of cranberries with just a whisper of dirt, soft, light and lovely. But I was not literally smelling and tasting those things. The aroma experience of wine is subjective and very figurative, not to mention, seriously romanticized. It’s the poetry of wine. That’s one side of analyzing wine. The other side is more like weight lifting. Wine has elements. They are acidity, alcohol, tannins, and sweetness. It literally has those elements. And when those elements are in balance with each other, like the Brouilly was last night, the wine is well made. When it comes to assessing the elements of a wine, experience and knowledge go a long way and can be very helpful in culling the good from the bad or mediocre. When a knowledgeable person writes about a wine that has good balance, I know it is a well-made wine. I may not experience the same aromas that the reviewer experiences, but I can count on the quality of the wine.

I hope the food and wine hedonist continues to share his ‘wine voice’ and knowledge with us. In the meantime, I have to get back to benching five more 500 pound sets…but only figuratively.