May 22, 2013

Wine: We must start thinking outside the box

By Joe Appel

(Continued from page 1)

The only salient criterion for wine is whether it's true or false.

False wine will momentarily satisfy. It will play nice, and perform tricks. It will sit, stay and roll over. It will be forgotten. False wine will adorn your life and align with your lifestyle, the way new shower curtains and phones and cars do. False wine will never admit it doesn't know what's going on, and so critics who pretend to know what's going on will praise it.

True wine will not only never satisfy; it will never promise satisfaction. True wine somehow acknowledges what the critics never do: that nothing is certain; that everything is permitted; that while appearances suggest stasis, beneath is constant motion.

Practical advice? Look for unknown quantities, and resist the temptation to render them known. Here are some ways to do this with wine:

Do not buy any wine advertised in any magazine.

Buy wine from a store's discount bucket.

Order wine at a restaurant with the most words in the listing that are unfamiliar to you.

Don't ask for help; see what happens. Next time, ask for help; see what happens.

When you seek assistance, don't talk about flavors. Instead, ask about wines that are produced with a light human touch. Ask your interlocutor, "What's the truest wine you know?" Ask this even if you doubt they'll be able to answer. Together, you'll work it out. If the conversation gets awkward, you'll know you've eluded that false-knowing critic stance. You'll be onto something.

Joe Appel works at Rosemont Market. His blog,, continues the conversation, and he can be reached at:


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