Yes, it was a slow wash cycle. The conspiracy against the gov- ernment of Greece, albeit count- ing its chickens already, aban- doned freshening the suspense, any longer. The New York Times, meanwhile, leapt valiantly into the breach, with a stunning sum- mary of stains, for declining Governor Christie's offer to serve the sentence he deserves, from the White House. These circumstances left the on- line sidebar for that editorial free to strike a whimsical bal- ance, in the management of its advertisements. Who would not, now that you mention it, stand in to spread the truth about a candidate of such clothes? In a week when not a few people are remarking on convergences in many dizzying fulfillments, this unusual presentation, not to mention the libertine slo- gan it rides in on, might have caught even the hip, napping. We adopt the assumption, not un- advisedly, that no one who can afford to present himself in a broadside at the Times, would waste his money on a race own- ed by the Clinton Global Laun- dromat. Do we know this Weldon, and how much foreign pandering experience he has? Will his can- didacy penetrate the first tier for debate's sake? What element, if any, of a bribe seems to be missing, in this whole message? And yet, should we prosecute on technicalities, a platform for reconciling both sides on a pla- teau of comfort, which might in- volve no taxes?
I thought, I'd break training in our dervish news cycle, to respond to something pleasant. Against expectation, and with that spontaneity we grow accus- tomed to, little by little, in our changing climate's beguiling face, this swath of Virginia was enjoying last weekend a rapid collapse in the mercury (now re- stored to us, as an element sea- soning our fisheries, by a won- drously epicurean Supreme Court), just as our pulpits were prepar- ing a prayer for snow. Who would not, then, place a call to his butcher, to commission a stand- ing rib roast? A staple of win- ter, suddenly calling us. I was caught twice off guard. A premier cru pinot noir at 18 is not a wine for pairing, I discovered at Sunday dinner, routine as that alliance is in its youth, with roasts of beef, woodcock, and crisp boar. It is a vision from Rimbaud.
To this one-off lad we owe a debt for discovering the daz- zling qualities of the oblique against the starkness of noon. The coinciding of that febrile delinquent's imagination, with discovery very few have ever dreamed, represents not a capture so much as an immut- able emanation of an annointed sensory logic, as we savour in Minor White. The taste for it is not rare, only its embodi- ment is. We others move, in such fields, from shock to ar- resting shock, and learn to yield autonomy to each glory. I have seen it: to its inher- ent ruby core has been laid a mantle of irridescent vermeil. I knew I should have listened to Homer.
For some years I have stood fast against toasting a sin- gular occasion, with a wine of extraordinary character. The occasion is adequate to itself, while such a wine offers to illuminate innocent spontaneity with chapter and verse of unforgettability. Men of commerce dispute this advice, exposing themselves and the wine to disappoint- ing experiences. (I always wondered what was the matter with James Bond, to call for a Bollinger Grande Année so predictably, and at such con- flict with his palate's great adventure). But this scruple has only led to the dispiriting consequence of distancing one from the bet- ter growths, for in Virginia, we abhor spontaneity almost as avidly as we mistake the great occasion. Is a Gevrey-Chambertin from Les Cazatiers, under the midwifery of Père Serafin and Fils, to go unremarked by acqui- escence to these habits? I fear, in a way, that the reception of its '97 vintage, today, is vulnerable to some hack enthu- siast's boast, on price alone. But this is not a grand cru, so the risk of that slander by association may be slight. Could there be a price too great for unseasonable relapse in Summer temperatures in Vir- ginia? That anomaly verges so treacherously upon the defini- tion of the great occasion, as to keep one apart from wine, for the duration. Nor will this do. We all need to yield to happiness, some- time, but then there's always Rimbaud, to haunt us with the great wonder of a beauty, ut- terly recast in our absence. As the great growths of Bordeaux only swagger down the fairway of their second decade in bottle, with a back nine no palate will ever hold against their lineage, those of Burgundy have begun the untimable unveiling of enchant- ment the southern département can never reach. In them the biology and the chemistry are the same, but it is as if the elements are not. And they are raised to re- semble nothing haunted by the ac- tuaries of the cellar life. In them are the halo, the shadow, the shimmers of yet accosting radiance. Does Rimbaud get it wrong:
Golden dawn and tremulous evening find our brig off shore, facing this villa and its dependencies, which form a promontory as vast as Epirus and the Peloponnese, or the great island of Japan, or A- rabia! Temples lit up by returning processions, immense vistas of the fortifications of modern coastlines; dunes illustrated with warm flowers and bacchanals; grand canals of Carthage and Em- bankments of a louche Venice; languid eruptions of Etnas and fissures of flowers and water in glaciers .. are open to the minds of travelers and noblemen which, during daytime hours, allow all the tarantellas of the coast, and even the ritornellos of celebrated vales of art, to deco- rate wondrously the façades of the Promontory- Palace. No, on the whole, we'd have to admit, the little monster has produced a promisingly service- able tasting note for our Am- trak stewards, on an overnight to Miami, swaying off its own peninsular promontory. But is it nice? Yes. The fruit is not so much stripped, as bur- nished; the already modest (13.0) alcohol is so well aligned with phenols, acidity, and solids, the ordeal of fermentation so long forgiven, its energies now are entirely those of projecting a signature spice of the skins, and the long, very long contemplation of the little shit's absolute- ly apposite golden dawn and tremulous evening. We don't need such a creation, but I set down my glass in dis- covery of a place in it. We don't need such a nature, but I set down my glass in grateful fellowship.
Jean-François-Arthur Rimbaud Les illuminations Promontoire John Ashbery translation op. cit. Minor White 1958 The New Yorker 2015 Decanter, Riedel, Austria 2000's Glass, Volnay #3, Baccarat, France 1960's Dishrack Chuck Williams, Sutter Street 1970's