"I wouldn't recommend that wine."

Now I want to try it. What the hell is wrong with me?

Actually, what the hell is wrong with us? I was reminded of this psychological phenomenon the other day when I was shopping for wine. I was 6+ feet away from a friend of mine and we were debating whether to pay $66 for a bottle of 1999 Savennières - Roche Aux Moines from Domaine Aux Moines. That's all French for fancy Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley. This store carried the 2016 and 1999. Same site, same producer, 17 years apart.

The manager spotted us and shouted out, "Don't buy the 1999. I had the 1998 and it was fucked. Oxidized as hell."

Fine. He walks over to continue the conversation.

"Now I really want it." I said. "Seriously. You just sold it by not selling it."

Honestly, I was buying that shit either way. What the hell is that?

Is that just me? Am I just that defiant asshole? I've had tendencies to be such an individual since time immemorial. And I'm only 32...but this is bigger than me.

I've always found it fascinating that people are so shocked by affairs, debauchery, the underworld, and general "transgressive" behaviours, even though virtually all of the literature, films, music, and media we consume deals almost exclusively with these topics. And most of these things are based on real events. Real life. There really is no line between fiction and reality. But when it's portrayed as fiction, somehow it's OK. When it's real life, then shaaaaame.

Like it or not, we are addicted to the forbidden. It's why Christianity was invented. Shit was getting too crazy. Everyone was fucking everyone. Eating everything. Drinking their faces off. Taking natural hallucinogenics. People were degrading. Loved ones were upset. Governments could not maintain control. This is based on ABSOLUTELY nothing. But it kind makes sense, no?

I digress. Back to the gin & tonics (read: wine).

Maybe this is part of my inherent male biology. Like the jar of pickles. See someone struggling with one, and you're all over it, because YOU are going to be the one to open it. That's right. Because YOU are stronger and mightier.

Same with the wine. Even though a seasoned professional is suggesting against it, capital "I" must be the one to discover it for myself.

Is that it though? Or is there more?

Let's unpack the experience.

First of all, I've limited experience with Savennières, but the one I did have involved a 1999 Baumard Clos de Saint Yves. I found it really hard to understand, even though I knew the wine was in fine condition. So, once again, knowing the public and professional accolades for this specific appellation, I'm hungry to understand.

Secondly, I'm dubious of even "seasoned professionals" ability to truly make an effort to understand wines that don't please them. And it drives me crazy. Maybe because I feel like I didn't get it once, even though I want to try again, I'm extra-suspicious that this fellow is not interested in doing the same, rather, sending a wine from this age from this area promptly into the discard pile.

Thirdly, he was talking about the 1998. One bottle. Sometimes corks fail. Plus, we're talking about the 1999.

This bottle hadn't spend 20 years in this store standing up on a shelf. I don't know when the winery released it, but it's probably been IN THEIR CELLAR for the bulk of its life. Wines that old don't hang around on the shelf in the market I live in, and if they did, you'd be wary of picking them up off the rack like that.

So I bought it. The pal I was with did, too. Sure, they consulted a super-somm pal of theirs, who said nice things about it.

No matter. I was already in. I prefer to live inside the book, the movie, the media sometimes. Pretend you're the one that everyone is reading about. It makes you feel less precious. And it's easier to experiment when you don't feel like yourself.

The trick is to get comfortable doing it when you do feel like yourself.

Drink on it.

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