Carl Jung And Wine Trouble

12 Aug

carl-jungLast month, a challenge was issued by The Drunken Cyclist to write a post on a theme – Transportation. My response is here. This month the winner of last month’s challenge, The Armchair Sommelier, another blogger that I follow, asked everyone to post on the theme – Trouble. As the other wine bloggers did, I had ‘trouble’, pardon the pun, thinking about wine as anything other than a blessing. What trouble could there be aside from overindulgence? Well, I came up with some of my all too regular troubles.

From the outside, it seems so awesome (as Chris Farley would say) to decide that you want to explore wines, try to become knowledgeable so as to better enjoy what you already love – and get to write about it. What could be better than reading about wine, visiting wineries, tasting (drinking) wines and writing about your experience as a sideline J-O-B? Sounds pretty trouble free doesn’t it?  What could you possibly write about that connects trouble to this wine life? Aside from those nasty liver enzyme levels? The other day, I read SavorEncyclopedia’s trouble theme and it tweaked something that has spelled trouble for me.

Folks (and I mean that in a non-Will Rogers sort of way) don’t want to misstep, make mistakes, err, screw up, look stupid. They usually want and need to move confidently, succeed, and look brilliant to others. It’s probably named after a psychologist. I’ll call it a Jungian Theory because it sounds like it could be Carl (Psych major here). Now, mix this Jungian Theory with the rules of wine that organically change monthly, wine etiquette, hundreds of varietal grapes, blends, techniques, French words adopted for wine discussion and you get a glimpse of  trouble. A lot of folks think that wine is hard – that you can mess up if you don’t pay attention. There apparently are non-intuitive secrets that take a long period of study to learn. Now, into this environment saunters a moderately articulate and light-hearted blogger who ‘appears’ to know stuff about wine. Well, he appears to know more than perhaps ‘folks’ think that they know. Well what happens? He becomes their ‘go-to’ guy for wine tips and recommendations. Where’s the trouble here, Duff? Let’s just say that there’s a burden that I bear that’s exactly the same as everyone else – I don’t want to screw up with wine. Trouble in Wine City? How about these:

  1. Expectations (aggressively nurtured on these pages) are that Duff is a wine pairing savant and pairing wine isn’t for novices. There are rules and, goodness, I respect them. Can’t always remember them – Google frequently, but, I know they kinda work. My trouble usually goes like this:

Overwhelmed Host – “Bill can you help me pair wine with my dinner menu? It’s the most important dinner of my life and I need your help.”  

Bill – “Sure, no problem. What’s the menu?” he says confidently as he opens Google.

Host – “Cumin crusted grilled scallop kabobs, arugula salad with orange segments and a citrus vinaigrette pre-main. Main is porcini-crusted beef tenderloin with truffle butter sauce served with parsley mashed potatoes, roasted tomatoes and steamed summer squash.”

Bill – “Are you sh****ing me?” Well, I don’t actually say that out loud. But, I think it. We now have fully engaged Jungian Theory Trouble.

Where to start? Deep breath, I use a technique honed over many years of pairing wine to food, I close my eyes and just think about the food – scallops and I think…………..wait for it…………… a crisp white wine like an Albariño from Rías Baixas – I can taste it and it is good, very good. But then again, the scallops have a middle-eastern quality. Nix the Albariño and insert a Sancerre? Riesling? Yes, the Riesling will go beautifully with the spiced scallops and citrus salad, I bet, hope, am moderately confident about. And, don’t sommeliers usually recommend Riesling when they’re lazy or tired or confused (like me) or it brilliantly matches the dish as in this case? OK, Riesling it is! That’s just the appetizers! Porcini dusted beef tenderloin? Deep breath………….. You see what trouble you can get in as a wine ‘guy’ with Jungian sized insecurities? 

  1. Trouble # 2 This time it’s me having the dinner party for friends that I love but who are not hesitant to evaluate my cooking and wine pairing skills. I know they do it behind my back but it still hurts. Let’s say we’re serving the beef tenderloin above. In this quagmire of potential failure, comes the first major anxiety producing question: Can I serve the 1990 Château LaGrange yet? I read in one of my many over-priced subscriptions that the ’90 is good between 2009 and the predicted end of time but somehow, I doubt that it will have survived the day known by one and all as, “The Sweltering Summer Day That The Electricity Died.” Meaning: wine storage failed and it’s stewed already. Sob. Get over it; it’s now between the pristine 2000 Château Malescot St.-Exupery and a New World pretender, 2006 Caymus. It’s a high class problem to have admittedly. If the Margaux is good – it’s too good for these guys (sorry to those friends reading this and thinking that I’m talking about them – I am). I know they love Caymus but that would be too easy and I have a reputation – founded on Old World wines – so the Margaux it is. Trouble over? Never. Question: Just let it breathe or decant? And, for how long? Can I mess this up too? When in doubt, an expert like me decants for about ……..however long I remember to let it decant and always in a nice Reidel decanter. Oh, it’s impressive alright. But, it’s been a struggle to get there and I haven’t even mentioned the dessert course. Dessert? Arghh!

Yes, it is a tough life, troublesome, trying to live up to others’ and more importantly your own expectations. And heaven knows I don’t want to make mistakes – but I will. However, failure teaches you more than success, my father regularly told me and I know he was right because I bought a used 1974 Vega. It paired nicely with a full glass of regret and a case of motor oil!chevy-vega

21 Responses to “Carl Jung And Wine Trouble”

  1. Sally August 13, 2013 at 3:03 am #

    I so relate to this. Writing about food and wine means that everyone expects everything you eat and drink to be of 5 star quality all the time. I keep telling them I’m just a keen eater (and taster) – they are not listening!


    • Duff's Wines August 13, 2013 at 8:37 am #

      Thanks. Hadn’t thought about the food writers when I did this but that would be intimidating when everyone has such different tastes.


  2. Krystle van Hoof August 13, 2013 at 4:43 am #

    Loved this post!
    It’s tough to find tasty ways to raise my liver enzyme levels around here…my choices are limited to two wine stores and a few Lebanese grocers. Plus, thank-you-post-colonialism, it’s all FRENCH. I’m more of a new world kind of a gal so I’m finding myself in a bit of trouble that way. I’m sure I’ll muddle through. Will have to search some past posts and see if I can find any of your recommendations ’round these parts (doubtful).


    • Duff's Wines August 13, 2013 at 8:40 am #

      Great to hear from you. Hope the new assignment is going well. I can live on Lebanese grocers’ fare given that Arlene is middle eastern. Take care.


      • Krystle August 16, 2013 at 5:12 am #

        Tell me about it – I could survive on everything at a Lebanese grocer too (and be in heaven!) Unfortunately, they don’t really carry much Lebanese-style food. I guess the demand isn’t high enough. That said, they are the best places to find wine, cheese and hookah tobacco. 🙂


  3. thefoodandwinehedonist August 13, 2013 at 6:42 am #

    Great post! I get into the same kind of troubles as well. And, as a former owner if a DeLorean, I feel your pain.


    • Duff's Wines August 13, 2013 at 8:41 am #

      And the DL would have cost more than $850?


      • thefoodandwinehedonist August 13, 2013 at 9:34 am #

        Well, I got it for free – inheritance.

        But it ended up costing more than a new car with all the repairs.


  4. talkavino August 13, 2013 at 6:49 am #

    Yep – once we join this self-proclaimed “wine aficionado” circles, the troubles are all around – is it time to open this bottle? to decant or not to decant? will it pair well or not? Are everybody happy with my choice of wine at the restaurant? Most of this “troubles” look beyond silly for the most of the people, but we actually spend lots of emotional energy trying to find the right solutions all the time…


  5. armchairsommelier August 13, 2013 at 7:46 am #

    Well done! Great interpretation of the theme. So agree! Every time someone asks me for a recommendation (wine or pairing), my first thought is, “Geez, I hope I don’t screw this up!”. Love how you tied it up at the end . . . Salud!


    • Duff's Wines August 13, 2013 at 8:44 am #

      Thanks. And thanks for hosting. Glad to participate in this supportive and talented community.


  6. sommertpyszora August 13, 2013 at 12:02 pm #

    Duff! Your the best:)


  7. the drunken cyclist August 17, 2013 at 3:54 pm #

    The most troubling thing for me is that most of these “wounds” are self-inflicted! We imagine that there are these huge expectations, but are there really? Are our guests really judging our choices nearly as stringently as we are?


    • Duff's Wines August 17, 2013 at 9:38 pm #

      Too true. Better to do our best and just enjoy. We do tend to take ourselves too seriously.


  8. mwwcblog December 19, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    Reblogged this on mwwcblog.



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