We're not supposed to do this. No. It's one or the other, all-or-nothing, this or that, democrat or...well, you know, proponent of Gilead™. Pepsi? Or Coca-Cola? Coors Light or Bud Lite?
If you're asking, I'm personally more into living the High Life™ (the Champagne of Beers!), but that's neither nor there. This is about our identities when it comes to wine, and on a larger scale, the ways we're groomed to identify as people. If you think I'm starting to sound a little Q-ish, well, I guess I just have to laugh and take it in stride. #savethewinos
For some reason that I will probably never fully understand (I think it might have something to do with our innate loneliness as singular beings, or perhaps structural systems of control and power), people tend to organize themselves in hard categories as a means of forming the essence of who they are. This comes in the form of sports teams, brands (or hoards) of toilet paper, cars, general articles of ginch/gonch, political parties, states, provinces, countries, religions, beer, vodka, and, yes, wine, amongst myriad assorted categories.
Food & beverage professionals with worldly ambitions and with genuinely curious palates serve people with strong ideas about maintaining their identities through the wine they are willing to associate with, and perhaps more notably, the wines they are not willing to associate with, on a daily basis. These people are relentless in their convictions and seem genuinely terrified that they might deviate from them, for fear of...well, what, exactly? That something new might taste good?
May the lord open. Sigh.
How did we arrive at this place where our ideas about who we are take such rigid form? Why are we inclined to choose only one side, the black or the white, the absolutely devout or the nihilistically atheistic, with little room for nuance? I'd argue that the idea of a clear "side" is far more arbitrary and difficult to define clearly than even the muddiness of reality if they were looked at with even temper and intellect. Furthermore, watching people try their damnedest to align themselves with a certain clergy begs the questions: is there value in this resistance to flexibility when trying to form one's identity? How does one grow, change, or evolve?
"I'm a Cab guy."
"I only drink Veuve Clicquot."
"I never drink Chardonnay."
"I can't stand that pissy Pinot Noir shit. Except Meiomi."
"Nothing compares to super-Tuscans."
"Whispering Angel is the only rosé I'll touch."
Why? Because you can taste the quality in comparison to the sea of rosé you swam through to arrive at a genuine conclusion? Or because it's expensive and you see models on Instagram drinking it on their yachts and you want to portray yourself in a similar manner?
No doubt, you've heard statements like the selection above before. You may even have uttered statements like this before. I probably have. And in retrospect, one realizes that these statements are in fact efforts to appear to fit into a perceived social class or group. And I'm reminded of those with incessant love for a flag. A flag that symbolizes their, well, something, but ask them and suddenly it's hard to come up with a tangible list of concrete tenets. A flag that symbolizes a certain blindness, a lack of nuance, and an easy way to feel part of something that is accepted, which in turn, might lend feelings that coddle that desire to be accepted in something greater than a void of loneliness.
Maybe that's just it. It's just easier to blindly and fervently choose something popular, expensive, or seemingly legit from the broad outside than it is to be flexible and get comfortable with a state of being that provides less than a monolithic identity and less than a straight answer for someone trying to engage with you in small talk. Maybe it's just harder to accept that we are fluid, that our tastes change, and that celebrating our ability to see and taste new things with fresh perspectives is not only a more tolerant and jovial way of life, but also essential to building a library of knowledge and experiences that allow us to see things from a variety of vantage points.
Through this softness, this malleability, this openness, this acceptance of things new, different, and unknown, we become a peaceful warrior. We can simultaneously enjoy Pepsi, Coke, and Mr. Pibb™. We can go dive into the depths and wonders of interesting grower champagne and sparkling wine from around the world and still accept and enjoy a glass of Veuve Clicquot when offered. We can live the High Life™ (slightly obsessed) and crush pints of single-batch saison from our local beerhall, as well.
Let your tastes evolve. Give them the space that society doesn't always afford them and our identities through the barrage of flags, associations, and arbitrary symbols. Celebrate the natural evolution of your preferences.
It's cool, I say. It's cool. Lead the way, Jorge.