I originally wrote this back in 2003 on behalf of Wine magazine a few weeks after I wrote off a motor car. It remains one of the pieces of writing of which I am most proud:
This being Valentine’s Day, we would like to take the opportunity to praise the virtues of full phenolic ripeness. Also, slow music and fast talkers. Low yields and high expectations. Knowing when to compromise. The garagiste winemaker and the tyranny of the label being tossed to the wind. Good business sense and a bigger slice of the pie. Paradoxes, ambiguities, and wondering whether you love her more than she loves you. Here’s to soap on a rope, the remote control and screwtop closures. “I’m OK, You’re OK” and going postal. Tangerine trees, marmalade skies and Pinotage. Love at first sight, unrequited love, the love that dare not speak its name. Jedi’s, hobbits and teen slasher movies.
Eating, drinking and being merry. Good enough never being good enough. Dung beetles and cellar rats. Remembering that you haven’t seen it all before. The first time, a second chance, and third, fourth or fifth generation farms. Anarchy, law and order and a utopia as yet unattained. Less is more, form follows function, one plus one equals three. Keeping it real and faking it. Black magic, white magic and alchemy in the cellar. Losing control and finding salvation. Skin flicks and skin contact. Fake I.D.s, the genuine article and pets who look like their owners. One hundred percent new wood and zero regrets.
Now or never and reincarnation. Sunshine, moonbeams and organic farming. Clean living and dirty dancing. Getting an experimental haircut, making an experimental wine. Enough is enough and always wanting more. Full moon, pizza and budburst. A glimpse of the future, history repeating itself and the second half of the bottle. The Kama Sutra, doing it doggy-style and wild yeast fermentations. Musos, winos, pills and thrills.
Burgundy, Bordeaux and the new bling-bling. Fuzzy logic. Being both soft-hearted and hard-headed. The malcontents, the disaffected and those prepared to take the road less travelled. Old flames and new ideas. Bedroom eyes and blowjob lips. Bacchus, Dionysus or whatever invocation you prefer. Letting it all hang out and keeping it all inside. Going solo and getting by with a little help from your friends. Heroes and villains and micro-oxygenation. A cosy tête-à-tête, a shouting match.
A lifetime of endeavour, a moment of inspiration. Text messages, flash animation and the whole idea of terroir. Beautiful lies and ugly truths. Photo-booths, ice-cream parlours and wine-bars. Pink bubbles, diamond-encrusted jewellery and how the west was won. Whoever has fallen in love, anyone who’s fallen out of love and anyone or anything else that has ever inspired us to be what we know we could be.