In these troubled times, with so many new things to worry about, I worry we’re forgetting to worry about some of the more worrying items on our traditional list of worries.
Such as wine. Which, as we’ve always known, is a very delicate flower, even when no longer an actual flower thanks to fertilising itself, hopefully without hurting its back.
We must remember not to neglect our wine anxiety, even with our currently crowded worry schedules. Any one of us could list numerous reasons for wine worry if we weren’t so busy microwaving our front door mat. From Angular Leaf Scorch to Zinfandel Palate Scorch, my list runs to at least 26, and I’m talking dozens.
To which I must now add yet another reason to lie awake at night chewing my fingernails and/or my foil capsules. Please, please, please, we must protect our wine from awards.
This new reason to fret about more than brett came to me as I was perusing the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. I couldn’t help noting that only three of the recipients got the top gong, thus defining the other 930 tireless, selfless, big-hearted contributors to the common good as not so good. It’s the toxic truth at the heart of our hierarchy-obsessed awards culture. In our thirst for winners, we create legions of hapless losers. And I use the word in its traditional, respectful sense rather than the current presidential one (noun: (plural) winners he doesn’t like).
We see shortlist remorse everywhere. Nominees at the Academy Awards managing to appear, under the scrutiny of billions, genuinely glad they’re not the one walking to the stage. And thus, ironically, winning the people’s vote for Best Actor.
At the Olympics, why does the golden boy or girl stand highest on the podium? Let the other competitors who made the event possible have that privilege. Let the winners express their gratitude by standing slightly lower, perhaps on the piles of vitamin-endorsement contracts awaiting their signature.
It’s the same in the wine world. How often in a wine shop have I sensed a silent plea from a bronze-medalled bottle, begging me to turn it to the wall to hide its shame. Well, I buy that bottle and drink it with loud appreciation. Sometimes in the shop.
And what about the poor benighted bottles with no medals at all? Perfectly good wines stigmatised by a culture I call invidious. Or should that be invinious? My heart goes out to those poor wines just as much as to the inadequately medalled. Which is why so often when I pop out for a bottle I come back with 800.
And don’t talk to me about a certain recent recipient of a coveted trophy. Willfully refusing to age gracefully. Not a hint of mellow complexity. Still acid, bitter and abrasive even after years on the shelf. I’m bewildered.
Who do some of these wine shows think they are – the Queen’s Birthday Honours List?