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BOWMAN: Proust for winos (or vice versa)

Sharon Bowman

Proust for winos (or vice versa)

I had a madeleine the other day.

Not the tea cake, but y’know, one of those things that jogs you, like a cobblestone sticking up that catches your foot and makes you stumble into the past. A wine remembered from earlier times, one that conjured up those times. So I thought it would be interesting, amusing and perhaps even illuminating to submit this blog (and myself) to the vinous version of the (in)famous Proust Questionnaire.

Forthwith, rendered into terms propitious for wine:

1. Your most marked characteristic?

In wine, I like being (as they say in French) a horse that eats from all the troughs. There are styles of wine I like less (moelleux springs immediately to mind), but I like to test periodically my so-called wine prejudices. Sometimes there have been fabulous turnarounds. I’ve been seen proselytizing for chenin, of late!

2. The quality you most like in a man red wine?

I like ethereal red wines. I also like a certain rusticity. What I don’t like is overbearing viscousness or jammy fruit. My gamut might span from Pineau d’Aunis to Cornas by way of Pinot Noir and cru Beaujolais. (And indeed, I am mixing up grapes and appellations. At least I don’t say „varietal.”)

3. The quality you most like in a woman white wine?

I like slightly oxidative whites. Like a woman showing her flesh. Or a barrel giving a sigh.

4. What do you most value in your friends?

I’m friends with those wines that take themselves seriously. Not in their outer trappings (unless we’re talking high-quality corks)—heavy bottles, designer labels or consequential pricing. But wines that are not funny. They don’t referment or reek, just as they don’t float, aromatically, with the remnant particles of toasted wood chips. They are honest but honed.

5. What is your principle defect?

I break stemware.

6. What is your favorite occupation?

Two, where wine is concerned. One is obviously sitting at a table with good food and opening bottles with friends, enjoying them over the course of the evening. The other is visiting a vigneron, seeing where and how the wine is made, by whom, and tasting it there.

7. What is your dream of happiness?

A really fine Burgundy with the right amount of age. Or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, something I have never heard of before that turns out to be astounding. I could make my short dream list. I have friends with quirky taste.

Hm, I feel so serious! So sententious! This is the first third. Maybe the others I’ll do more Dada in style. Stay tuned.

* Sharon Bowman, bloggerka, znawczyni wina.

„Kultura Liberalna” nr 77 (27/2010) z 29 czerwca 2010 r.

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