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June 25, 2010

06 Movia, Sauvignon

"The intent of the meal is a slow event." We broke bread to that (well, head cheese). Some 50 of us gathered over two long tables, bottles of wine in tow. I'd literally towed mine, pedaling a Rube Goldberg setup of gear and chain across town, past an oddly situated UPS facility, and finally swinging through a winding country road, wine sloshing like rapids in the rear basket. Whatever it took, we were all going to get here. This farm dinner, this apotheosis of porcine proportions--a whole hog roast by one of our favorite chefs, here at one our favorite farms, the dank smell of humidity, goats, and rennet whisking across fennel fronds, redcurrants, and the saline drip of what was once my favorite shirt. Yes, this would be a slow event, just like Leslie said. Time enough to share in great food, meet others, and--as always--drink great wine. My bottles of some esoteric sparkling pinot and gelber muskateller came out. Others had brought delicious rose, shockingly good Australian whites, Bandol that somehow seemed refreshing in 90-degree heat. And, through all this--a memorable night in the least--I could think only of the futon I sat on last night. The bloat of Chinese food in my distended belly. A much quainter evening, all in all, capped with the denouement of this bottle of Movia. I could say it was majestic, moving, or metaphysical in situ. But where we were seated, who we were with, what we were or had eaten meant nothing to this wine. In a living room, on a farm. When I remember the night, I like to imagine us together at a teak, or maybe pounded copper, table, some innocuous plate of tapas or antipasti in front. But I don't need to. Because whenever this coy, nuanced--at the risk of sounding even more pretentious: "historically informed"--bottle is opened, you're no longer tied to your surroundings. The wine is where you are--as local and true as any gathering of old friends. You're never introduced to Movia. There is no awkward handshake, no learning curve. And if you're sitting there with a bottle right now, you know what it is. It's elemental in some way. You can't break down Mo. There is no tasting note. Sure, we can discuss the balance of acid and umami. Whether that musky aroma is really flint, lemon, or a stark, jarring reminder of being asked to wash the chalkboards for the last three months of kindergarten because your overachieving ass graduated early and there is no place to put a five-year-old kid on a Wednesday in the middle of a particularly frigid winter. We can discuss those things. Better if we don't. When I sat there on the farm, drinking bottle after bottle of delicious wine, eating course after course of thoughtfully raised and prepared food, I'd lost all my inhibitions. For a moment, I thought I should've brought that Movia I'd had the night before. Every glass I poured reminded me of it anyway. It's all I was really tasting. It would have wowed them. But I quickly woke to realize that's precisely the opposite of what wines like this want to do. They don't want to wow you. They don't want you to wow others. Somehow, they stay with you, revealing themselves not when you drink them, but far more viscerally when you are without, almost whispering, you will miss me when I'm gone. You taste them, you share your own little memories (when was the last time I'd thought about homeroom and Mrs. Cook?), and you go on with your day. Comforted, maybe, by the fact that, no matter where you are and what you become, everything you've done really happened. It's mattered. You will remember your days and remember them fondly. It really does get this good. And it's a secret you never have to share.


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