Solipsism is the school of thought which states that only the self, in the form of one’s own mind can be known to exist. Anything eternal cannot be truly confirmed to exist. While I am not a believer, I do have a grudging admiration for anyone whose ego is big enough to accommodate this idea into their worldview.
One way of knowing or trying to understand yourself is to write. Writing is easier when, as much as possible, you are truly writing for yourself and not worried about the judgement of others.
In my own personal take on solipsism, you the reader do not exist. But thanks for taking the time to read this anyway. I write to figure out how I got here. A little over a year ago, wine was passing interest. This has now turned into a passion (or obsession, depending on your point of view). While I’m still trying to work all this out, another piece of the puzzle was revealed to me recently. Wine satisfies a deeper thirst.
Some time ago I was gifted with a 2013 Troplong Mondot. A true solipsist would have kept it all for themselves but I decided to forego the pleasure in deference to a more communal experience. To satisfy our collective sweet tooths (“Sweet teeth” just doesn’t sound right), I also brought along a 2017 Château Gravas Sauterne. All hail Bordeaux.
A standard bottle of wine only goes far if you are drinking on your own but a bottle of fine wine will live long in the memory for all those who get to share a drop and so proved the case. Unable to resist temptation and after a criminally short decanting time we proceeded.
The bottle was shared amongst 5 drinkers with varying degrees of skills in this area.
For an experience such as this, the first property of the wine profile should be complexity. 5 drinkers sitting around a table all proclaiming that a Sauvignon Blanc tastes like passion fruit is hardly grounds for adding to the tapestry of the occasion. This Mondot had all the hallmarks of classic right-bank Bordeaux. Elegance and power, the proverbial iron fist in a velvet glove. A Bordeaux is greater than the sum of its parts. As an aside, this Chateaux was one of the earliest adopters of organic and biodynamic farming in the appellation. Another reason, if you didn’t have enough already to love it.
Hobbyists, novices and oenophiles alike were joined in this communion hoping to connect with the divine. It also may be the first gathering I was at where the pandemic didn’t come up once in conversation. A reason in itself to celebrate.
The first miracle Jesus was recorded as having performed was the turning of water into wine during the wedding at Cana. I’m not sure what the weather was like for that particular vintage. But if the result was anything like the Troplong in front of the congregation, they weren’t disappointed. As we only had one bottle, it wasn’t enough to intoxicate and make us recall our sins.
Wine is a broad church that satisfies a deeper thirst. Not just a taste but a libation, a ritual, an occasion itself and a reason to bond.
- Shane Golden