Here is my entry for the March edition of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge. The previous winner was The Sweet Sommelier with a post on the them of Devotion. This month’s challenge theme is Luck. Hopefully i will be more inspired than last month !
Without further ado, here is my Luck entry for the MWWC8 :
Liquid Luck or a Tale of Two Harrys
In one of the Harry Potter novels there is a potion called Felix Felicis that characters describe as “liquid luck”. Now I love the Harry Potter books, but I have to say it right there, liquid luck already exists; it’s called wine, check it out.
I could go down the easy road and just say that wine can get you drunk, sometimes drunk enough to make questionable choices and, in a certain acceptation of the term, “get lucky”. But I will not do that. I mean, I can’t really reach my punch line 6 lines into the contest right? No, I will have to take my time, work it slowly, I don’t care if it is getting late, I could be up all night (to get lucky).
Wine is quite literally liquid luck. In each bottle there is a special wine that only can be made once. Earth, Heaven and People have worked together to produce something that cannot be identically re-created. “Earth” would be the terroir, and granted, you can say that terroir doesn’t change. “People” means the winemaking process, the techniques used, and again, it can be a constant. But Heaven is the weather, and we can all agree that there is a significant amount of chance involved in that variable.
Any wine is a one-time chance encounter between those variables to produce something unique. That’s pretty lucky. Now there’s even more luck involved since another chance encounter has to happen for wine to become a real magic potion. There is an expression, “Lightning in a bottle” to describe the idea of something extremely unlikely happening. In that case, isn’t all wine lightning in a bottle?
The bottle has to meet its drinker. Once again, there are a lot of parameters to consider: how old is the bottle? What conditions was it kept in? Will it be served with food? What food? What mood is the drinker in? It is impossible for the same magic moment between a wine and a drinker to happen twice. In fact, just by drinking a wine, the drinker will change, the experience of this wine making him more educated, never will he be the same person than he was before his first sip.
Luck, or happenstance is also the original reason for some wine production methods. Noble rot for instance, or ice wine, or even champagne were all unforeseen consequences or miscalculations. The fact that champagne wine was sparkling was actually a bad thing as it lead to bottle breaking and exploding, people getting injured and wine getting spilled. Shame. Then someone goes along and invents the muselet and all is well again. Those techniques still came up as accidents but let’s call them happy accidents, shall we? Once more luck is here to provide the unexpected (and the delicious), thank you luck.
Sometimes, it even goes beyond luck. Sometimes there is a meet-cute between you and a wine and lucky doesn’t even begin to describe how you feel. Quite possibly, you feel like you have been struck by lightning (the one that was in the bottle). I can recall a couple wines that did that to me. A Chateau Latour 1982 and a Corton-Charlemagne 1978, I should be so lucky (lucky, lucky, lucky) to ever try them again.
I think what it all comes down to is the attitude you bring to your meeting with a particular wine. Do you just go through the motions? Do you expect something to happen? Are you ready to be wowed? What kind of genie will come out of the bottle? To put it in simpler terms, let me let another Harry, not Potter, but Callahan, AKA Dirty Harry provide the moral of this story: “Do I feel lucky punk? Well, do ya?”
Oh, and I do, I really, really do.