It was American essayist-philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson who first suggested that the mentality that rates order, uniformity, and predictability too highly is not to be trusted. ”A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds” is how he memorably put it.
It’s true that a world where everything happens in just the same way every time would soon become unbearably tedious, but no less true that a world where everything is fresh each day would be an uncomfortable place to live. Routines swaddle us sweetly in the familiar but also turn us into sleepwalkers. We talk incessantly about what’s new, but cling tenaciously to tradition and habit. In the end is there any real difference between being in a groove and being in a rut?
We’re all a just little schizophrenic on this point, so it shouldn’t come as any surprise when we see the same sort of bi-polarity manifest itself in the world of wine: on the one hand a quiet, steady commitment to wine that is as consistent as possible from place to place and year to year; on the other joy in the spontaneous variability that springs endlessly from nature.
The poles in this case are Bordeaux and Burgundy, two wine regions that established themselves early in the Christian era but which gave birth to two radically divergent views of what wine should be. [Read more…]