Friday, August 12, 2005
OK, so what is the deal with the sudden profusion of wines with goofy names and cartoony labels? I stopped off at Leland Liquors (the store's slogan, "We Cater to Your Spiritual Needs," never fails to amuse me) to pick up a bottle of red last night, and everywhere I looked it was all Warthogs and Fat Bastards and Yellow Tails and Bicycles and Amaroo-Kangaroo-Toodely-Doos. WTF? I really don't feel the need for my wine to be aggressively accessible and friendly, to practically leap off the rack and pump my arm with a vigorous Australian handshake. Gimme whiskey in a sippy cup or gin mixed with Hawaiian Punch, that I'm fine with. But, wine is one of the few things in my life that I'm perfectly happy to remain intimidated by. Of course I've purchased, and enjoyed, the aforementioned silly wines; they're great for those times when you're rushing through the liquor store on your way to a party and need quick assurance that they're not going to be completely foul. (Oh, three-buck Chuck, you nasty, nasty beast, yes, that's a thinly veiled reference to you.) I have no real problem with them in and of themselves, and it's not that I'm endorsing foodie pretentiousness and snobbery. (God knows the one place where my Hoosier bloom hasn't really worn off is my palate.) But, I don't appreciate the insinuation that I need a garish package to reassure me that "no, really, wine is for everybody! Even you can appreciate it. Come on in, the water's fine. See how much fun we're having?" Should it be so much to ask for wine to maintain a little mystique? Even at the lower end of the budget spectrum? For, with a little mystique comes a little of the sublime, and, by God, isn't that part of the reason we drink wine in the first place?