The Enemy of Good

It's crazy to think I'm going into year three of intensive French study, but as I sat back and continued reading another novel last night, the words made more sense than ever. Especially when I came upon the sentence: "Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." I think it's a quote from Voltaire, meaning: "Perfect is the enemy of good." In a world where everyone seems to be searching for the penultimate experience in life, sometimes we should just be happy with a high level of quality. Because if you're only satisfied when everything is absolutely perfect, then you'll probably never be happy (nor will you likely ever find a truly perfect moment).

I know people who obsess about whisky that way (and it's unhealthy because it completely takes away from the fun of drinking itself), but I'd say that mindset is far more prevalent in the wine world simply because of the timing issue. The thing about whisky is that once it's taken out of the cask, blended, and put into the bottle, you can drink it whenever you want and it's going to taste the same no matter what. Wine, on the other hand, will taste completely different depending on when you drink it during its lifespan. As a result, I usually deal with a few daily neurotics at K&L; people who worry that they're not drinking their wine selections at the absolute perfect moment. They take detailed inventories, have spreadsheets with dates and notations, and are constantly comparing and contrasting their experiences; hoping to tweak something next time to make the experience just a little bit better. I understand trial and error, and I also get why someone would want to get the most out of their investment, but there's a point where the quest for perfection begins to take away from the everyday quality of life. 

If life is a test, then you need to approach it like one. You need to do the best you can in the allotted time given. You don't get to go past the time limit, just like when you take the SATs. You have to work effectively and carefully, but also efficiently. Letting yourself get bogged down on the details isn't an option. Part of the test itself is to see if you can let the little things go and move on for the sake of the bigger picture. I also know a few wine drinkers who will only open nice wine with the "perfect" food pairing; because to drink Bordeaux with anything other than steak would be less than. Chablis must be paired with crab. Burgundy must go with lamb or chicken. If there's one small piece of advice I can offer you going into my tenth year in the wine business, it's to let all that food pairing bullshit go. That's not to say that food pairings are bullshit. They're not. Steak and claret is a magical combination, as is crab and Chablis. It's just to say that you can't spend your life waiting for the perfect moment to strike. There is no perfect moment. You need to seize the moment, and make the moment your own. 

I didn't have steak on New Year's Eve, but that didn't stop me from drinking a bottle of 2000 Petit Cheval, the second wine of Cheval Blanc (I like second wines, if you didn't know; and that in itself is my way of settling for good). I had pizza, and let me tell you: it was still one of the best wines I've ever had despite the less than perfect pairing.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll