COMMENTARY

Wines Like Us

By Emily List

Have you ever thought while sipping a glass of wine how the grapes in it are just like the people around us?

The thought had never crossed my mind until recently when I took a sip of a rather insipid Pinot Noir. It reminded me of a spoiled child. A fussy, fragile child who refused to do what he or she was told until the parent patiently coaxed it out of her. Only then would the child behave and act just as soft and sweet as can be, while flashing the parents a smile that would melt a heart of ice. This parent-child relationship is a delicate matter that leaves many exasperated, but as the little one matures into a polished and beautiful adult, any past struggles are easily forgotten.

Cabernet Sauvignon is like an alpha male, the epitome of everything filled with testosterone. He is a mountain man who loves grilling and the outdoors. He is big and boisterous — almost to the point of being obnoxious — yet is always well-loved and the life of any party. But as much of a man’s man he is, he still has an irresistible soft side. He brings you rich dark chocolate when those monthly cravings strike, and his big bear hugs make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. He may be a lot to handle, but underneath, he is the best form of comfort when you need it.

Merlot is like a 30-something-year-old nerd. A regular Clark Kent used to blending into the crowd because that’s what he’s most comfortable with, and everyone seems to like it that way. But when the moment arises when he’s needed, he can suddenly stand out in the crowd — not to be blended in at all but to be his own person and be absolutely amazing at it. And people who thought he was so well at blending in look at him differently now. He might be shy and seem a bit boring, but he still manages to break common perceptions, whether he’s in a crowd or not.

Chardonnay is like a matronly, curvy woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. No mystery here. She is usually straightforward and doesn’t mess around. She’s experienced and carries herself well, with a regal flair. She rules her children rather sternly, like a sturdy oak tree, but she can be as soft and as gentle as butter when the moment is right. So much so that even her husband melts. She’s all about tradition but knows what to break and what to keep. She is trustworthy and steadfast – the kind of person you can always count on.

Sauvignon Blanc is like an aristocrat, a refined, elderly woman who, by her demeanor alone, is visible a mile away. She is dripping with prestige and the history of her noble heritage. She might come across as stony and somewhat neutral, but once you get to know her, you come to respect what a sincere and genuine being she really is. She loves the big city life and all the social gatherings it offers. Although she loves to mingle and see who meshes with her personality, she is always upfront with her views and never conforms. She is someone you love to hate and hate to love. She inspires you.

Pinot Gris is like a 20-something-year-old who doesn’t know what he or she wants in life. They are in the bend in the road, and know they have a lot of decisions to make: Go down the path they are expected to follow or break the mold and try something different which will inevitably shock some people. The stress of all the indecisiveness makes them as moody as a spring day and as tart as a lemon pie. But they are young still, and light and carefree, not to be tied down by some big, boring adult job. Their inner conflicts though, cannot be cured by age or experience but must be resolved from within.

Moscato is like the popular girl in high school. Everyone can’t help but love her. She’s fun, bubbly, sweet and vivacious. Everyone wants to hang out with her and be as cool and popular as she is. Many of the other girls try to imitate her but to no avail. She is coquettish and strings boys along like a fully orchestrated string quartet. She is addicting. But be careful, she is really only good in small doses. Spending too much time with her can reveal her true nature. Her sweetness soon comes off as fake, and all her cotton candy frivolity can give you a stomach ache. Although appealing to the masses, many people don’t take her seriously. She lives, laughs and loves for the moment.

Emily List is a freelance wine writer who recently earned degrees in journalism and international studies. She lives in Florida but is setting her sights to the West, specifically wine country.

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