Monday, October 14, 2013

St Émilion and I

  I close for
  October and.

I don't like the sound of
accolades; they commit the
wrong frequencies and amp-
litudes for me and what I
like. I have always absent-
ed myself from stadia when
they're occupied, although
I love an honest contest.
The best things, of course,
are no contest.

Some time ago, when a war
I didn't like was announced
as coming to an end, I was
driving back to Palo Alto
from a trek to a couple of
favourite used-book stores
in Berkeley, and I detoured
off the Bay Bridge to take
a table at Ernie's, of which
you've heard, in Vertigo. I
knew they'd lend me a tie.

The foyer was awash in roses,
as it always was, and incom-
parably comfortable and in-
timate in welcome: a warmth
with no unnecessary word.

I had no doubt of what I'd
eat or what I'd drink. I may
return to the rest someday,
but what mattered was a wine
that had long, long come off
the vines at Château Ausone.

The cellar did not fail, and
that was Ernie's rôle in life,
now defunct of course. I may
revisit that institution here,
as this page may go on.

I am not going to spill ac-
colades on that rapport, and
I'm not going to solicit ex-
citement with vain remarks on
the imperishable. I hold to
too much respect for the au-
tonomy of the palate, and in-
deed of the admirable works
of nature, to treat my reader
to a harangue on discernment.

I believe the ultimate resort
of taste is peace. I know, it
can be crafted, because it is
natural. Such peace is not the
privilege of going unwarred
upon, nor does it roil the air
with triumphs, as much as it
responds to thirst. It can be
tasted, and the taste for it
is not rare. 

i, ii  James Gatenby
iii   St Émilion

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