This weekend I was once again reminded of the similarities between booze and art. Here are a few musings:
– While watching the first epsiode from this season's Project Runway with my wife (a show that has taught me a lot about doing my job, I should add), the two judges discussed whether a contestant was good enough to make the cut:
"I wouldn't wear her clothes personally, but I think they would sell right off the rack."
I've felt the same way about whisk(e)y many a time. There are whiskies that I personally wouldn't buy for myself, but I still think they have general appeal and should be included in the K&L selection. It seems that the judges on PR are divided between the designs that are easy to like and the more challenging fashion that appeals to their sense of art. Spirits are no different. The difficulty on PR is that they have to eventually choose one winner. Fortunately, I do not. I get to have shelves and shelves of both types!
– Driving in the car yesterday, I was listening to some old Sonic Youth songs and remembering how much I loved their music in high school. In all honesty (which I have to confess if I want to make this point), I think I liked the idea of Sonic Youth back then. Much like Christian Lander claims that white people like "the idea of soccer," I thought that people might be impressed by my musical tastes, seeing that Sonic Youth were always the critical darlings without much general fanfare. I, therefore, perhaps stood out a bit from the crowd by professing my admiration for the art-house rockers. Just like in Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, there are certain records you just have to own if you want any credibility as a serious music fan. The same is entirely true about wine and spirits.
I think there's a certain amount of pretending going on in the booze world, but it's mostly innocent. I definitely liked Sonic Youth (and I probably like them even more now), but I don't think they were actually my favorite band like I claimed they used to be. I've seen the same type of relationship with esoteric Burgundy or Loire Valley reds that possess a certain cool factor when brought to a dinner party. Ultimately, they're never really the most friendly wines, but they are interesting. However, you get the same type of street cred if you talk about how much better they are than California Pinot Noir, even if the Swan Russian River really was the most enjoyable of the evening.
If you define yourself by the musical artists you admire, then telling people what you drink is no different than telling people what you listen to – you always craft that list carefully to include some interesting, off-beat choices in between some safe selections. If you've ever read High Fidelity, or even seen the movie, it's really the same thing going on at K&L.