During a recent visit to a Chateau in Margaux, France, a young women gave me an overview of the winemaking process during a tour. She told a beautiful story of how the grapes of the younger, less mature vines are often used for the cheaper 2nd label wines (ewwww, gross. . . . wine for peasants). Often, those crappy grapes had to even be mixed with the grapes of the older, fabulous vines to improve the taste – and be good enough to bottle and sell. The quality of the wine produced increases as the vines age and continuously gets better and better. This made absolute perfect sense to me. Quality comes with age. She had my full attention.
Without warning, the story took a sudden, jolting turn that turned my cheery face into a twisted mess of disappointment. Apparently, when the vines reach the mere age of 40, they hit what is fondly referred to as the menopause of the grape-vine. At this stage, they are called Grandmothers and are considered to be well past their prime. Whaaaaaat the furck? And what happens next you might wonder? Well, my friends, that is the time when the matured, menopausal, grandmother vines are violently ripped from the ground, the roots chopped off and the remains disposed of or used as compost for the younger, up-and-coming vines. After turning 40 – those amazing plants – having churned out the finest of wines in their greatest years – are killed off to make room for the younger girls. Sniff. Sniff. Thankfully, this is not the case for humans. Ahem. Sorry, something in my throat.
However, those fine wines that are produced by those lovely ladies. . . well, they live on and continue to increase in quality year after year after year. Those wines become intricate and complex. Wine connoisseurs often use the following words to describe these fine wines: balanced, full-bodied, full of depth, expressive, powerful, spicy, soft, rich or supple. That’s how you describe the product of a sassy, classy mother vine. They might cost more. They are not available for purchase at Wal-Mart or the Quickie Mart. But goddamnit, you’re going to get something pretty special. Choosing to purchase, drink and/or keep fine wines isn’t for everyone, but for people who try it out, they often find it hard to go back to the cheaper, lower quality options. Just say no to Mad Dog 20/20.
“Wine is one of the most civilized things in the world and one of the most natural things of the world that has been brought to the greatest perfection, and it offers a greater range for enjoyment and appreciation than, possibly, any other purely sensory thing.” – Ernest Hemingway
Well said, Hemingway, well said. And it’s delicious.
Studies show that wine is often judged by the packaging. In 2001, a panel of wine experts gave one of the lowest possible scores to an average-priced Bordeaux that was served in a cheap bottle. When it was served in an expensive bottle, it received one of the highest possible scores. Even though the quality on the inside was still top-notch, it was perceived to be a lesser wine. Hmmmm. Again, nothing at all like human behavior. Cough. Cough.
Women are like wine in many ways. Sure, there are many varieties. Some domestic and some exotic. Some young and some old. Some cheap and some expensive. The really good ones are taken or quite hard to find. Too many and you’re probably going to have a headache. Everything in moderation, right my dears? Once you’ve uncorked a good one, you better enjoy it while you can.
Woman often say that they’re aging like a fine wine, and in many cases, this is absolutely true. Through age and experience, you learn and you grow and you become more complex – but in really awesome ways. You’ll always be slightly delicate, needing a good environment and some proper care so that you don’t go all vinegary. But, you’ll be worth the time, the investment and the perfectly cool surroundings so that you can be your absolute best. Most of all, you’ll need someone to appreciate how fine you really are. Nothing worse than a unknowing imbecile dumping out something so precious and unique!
So for the women? You’re either already splendid or on your way there – with or without the cheese. Men? Read the fine print on the label and choose wisely. If you get yourself a 1971 Petrus Pomerol, well you should start drinking it up.