Sean Thackrey :: Wine Maker

Sean Thackrey :: Wine Maker

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

I don't really know why I'm posting so many stories at the moment; perhaps it's because harvest was over so soon, but anyway:

This was some years ago, when it was more normal to separate wine grapes into, on the one hand, "noble varietals", needless to say all French, and on the other hand, the rest. Hardly necessary to note that I found this irritating, particularly in that the whole stupid concept was more the creature of oligarchs promoting their investments than aristocrats protecting their heritage.

So I was pouring our wines at a trade event in San Francisco, when a particularly affected buyer for an important wine merchant came to the table - you know, just the right hair gel, ascot, open collar, cufflinks, the whole thing; we went through the various wines, & came to the 1988 Taurus, the first wine I'd released made with Mourvèdre, then truly unknown in California, where it was still officially called "Mataro".

I served it to him; he swirled & sniffed & asked the price, which was very moderate. Still, apparently he had to say, "Well, I must say that seems quite a lot to ask for a wine that isn't even a noble varietal!". I replied instantly, with a genuine smile, "But then neither are you; so what's the problem?" He actually smiled back, and moved on.

It was an important lesson for me, or at least a clarification of prior experience, that I could say something so blatantly insulting about something I did think was, well, stupid, and yet not really offend, since I actually felt an empathy for the man, and had not the slightest wish to demean him; I said something that could be taken as no more than a witticism, and fortunately was taken as such; the enlightenment being that my actual, if exasperated, kindness of intention could somehow be subliminally understood, apparently allowing my remark to be taken that way.

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