On Wine, and Making It

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Why see the world when you’ve got the beach. There is eponymous truth to Frank Ocean. A direct line from the saccharine to the authentic. Too many get caught in sugary formalism to notice the subtle opening that mastery of (but not subservience to) form offers the perceptive.

This is why technical mastery is both over and under appreciated. It is a nearly impenetrable necessity to the opening of real aesthetic substance. Yet, it is not sufficient.

Real expression comes through an insight garnered only through deep experience and subtle mastery of technical skill. The most difficult moment in artistic endeavor comes when inspiration is lost – to make meaning from frustration is a struggle only for the most dedicated.

I would stake real money that any passionate winemaker has had this experience. Persevering through the frustration to produce inspiration is an essential skill for all artists. It is also the most difficult commitment. This struggle manifests in the smallest ways. Do you ensure that every single step you take is fully thought out? Do you take the time to learn so much that ‘non-interference’ is a more substantive decision than the all those made by the Frankensteins who take every step possible to manipulate the final product?

Perhaps this is why Frank Ocean samples Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack in his masterpiece “Pyramids”. Learning from another master of saccharine simplicity become deeply profound expression, Ocean pulls the dense fog and neon light directly into his song without even trying.

Is that how masters do it? Working so hard so that everything seems so natural? Maybe this is why ‘non-intervention’ and ‘minimalism’ mean so little when written by the press. Most writers completely miss the tremendous work, dedication, observation, pain, frustration, dead ends, and – most importantly – influences. Where are you working tonight?

Thrills. Can we have these more often?

They come with work. Hard work. But not savage work. Work with lightness. Jettison sympathy, nostalgia, self-pity. Then you find something more – beyond the universal plague, neurosis.

This is an ode to those wineries I think have discovered sweet presence. Space. The rare moments that come only from struggle. That is aesthetic truth. Like tears in the rain. My choices?


Wind Gap
Leon Barral
Auguste Clape
Chateau Rayas
Jimenez-Landi
Clos Rougeard
Jacques Selosse
Marcel Deiss
Giacomo Conterno
Teobaldo Cappellano
Paolo Bea
Soldera
Egon Muller
Donnhoff
Alois Kracher

Leave the meter running.

Posted in: Musings, Places

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