A little while ago, I started ranting a bit on Thursdays since there are certainly some issues in the wine world that deserve to be pilloried. I still have a few rants on the horizon (e.g., Pinot Grigio), but as I was sitting at dinner last night, I started thinking that there is far too much ranting going on in the wine blog world. Sure, negativity gets traffic to your site. You might even make a name for yourself through bashing the 100 point scoring system or claiming that wine tastings are rigged. Controversy causes otherwise sane individuals to react emotionally and in ways that they normally might not: It seems today people are more apt to react first and think later. (Here in Philly, drivers are not shy to employ their car horns at even the slightest delay–I was “urged” to speed up my progress through a particularly tricky intersection the other day. I had slowed since there was a pedestrian legally crossing the street. The “boisterous” driver of the car behind me, after finally noticing the pedestrian screamed out of his open window: “Use YOUR horn to let them know you’re coming” [followed by a seven letter term that refers to a body part and the extension of a single finger–and not the one commonly used to signify “wait a minute”]).
I get all of that.
But this is wine we are all ranting about here.
A beverage that can both help you better enjoy your meal and forget your particularly crappy day. Why do some want to spend so much time concocting controversies over wine (I mean other than the narcissism)?
Sure, there are issues that involve wine that have little to do with the beverage itself. Most of those involve money, and people love their wallets.
But it is just a beverage.
Last night, as I was sucking down a bottle of one of my favorite champagnes followed by a couple of mildly aged Burgundies (one white, one red), I contemplated even writing about the meal (I even took food porn pictures). On the drive home, I decided against it since, well, I am only a foodie by extension. I know little to nothing about food. I like to think I can tell the difference between average food (Italian) and good food (French), but I have no ability to distinguish good food (French) from great food (really good French food).
So I stick to wine.
As if to underscore my resolve, there have been some more “established” wine bloggers that have ridiculed and belittled other bloggers who only seem to write about “what I ate last night”. Since these old hats clearly know best, I am not going to write about last night’s meal in our favorite restaurant in the city.
Instead, I would rather focus perhaps the singular most important aspect of wine: The ability to bring people together.
If you like food, live anywhere near Philadelphia and you have not yet been to Bibou, frankly, you are an idiot. I usually do not use words like that either on this blog or in real life (unless I am talking about my brother who is an insufferable Michigan fan), but here it is apropos. Bibou (which basically is a term of endearment, like “honey” or “schmoopy” in French) is, dollar for dollar, the city’s best restaurant. Unless you are a Manhattan snob (is that redundant?) your city does not have anything to compare to our little Bibou.
Our first trip to Bibou was during its second week of operation and we have been hooked ever since. The main reason, of course, is the food, but we likely never would have tried it were it not a BYOB establishment. Those of you that have previously perused the pages of this blog know that I harbor incredible disdain for the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB), which is the state owned monopoly of wine and spirits. One of the great things for a wine lover in the state, however (and as far as I can tell, completely unrelated to the state run wine stores), is the prevalence of restaurants that do not have a liquor license and therefore will allow you to bring your own wine (if you happened to buy that bottle from the PLCB, it is likely of questionable quality and you probably paid far too much for it–I feel another rant coming on–but I digress).
Thus, inadvertently perhaps, wine was the catalyst that brought us to Bibou and caused us to meet Pierre (the chef) and Charlotte (the almost everything else)–two of the absolute nicest people you would ever want to meet. We have had many a dinner at Bibou (and even one at our house) and wine always figures prominently. Last night was no different: Yet another wonderful evening with great food, wine, and yes, friends.
So while it seems as though negativity is being rewarded in wine blogging today, I feel it is important to maintain a little perspective.
Wine is a beverage.
A beverage that can help bring people together.