It is a threat, and a pleasure, perhaps the most pernicious risk to mankind since the Black Death… Yet, how could we give up those marvels of nature, human skills and poetic evocations? Just think: from the Old World to the New, Pino Grigio, Montbasillac, Saint-Emilion, Burgundy, Champagne, the marvellous Australians, the North-Californians, the Cahors, the sunshine from South-Africa, the smiling Italians, the harsh Spanish, without forgetting the gold and diamonds of South America… the inexhaustible riches of the grapes! And what is cooler than a glass of iced Grappa after a Mediterranean meal?
And how to drink with moderation? Perhaps it is a matter of location, of space, of atmosphere? The geometries of drinking are as varied as the colours of the rainbow.
Think: drinking alone, drinking at two, with many? At home, at the dinner table, in the lounge, in the bar? Champagne at breakfast, Pinot Noir at seduction time? And who seduces whom? The possibilities are infinite…
The Public Library of South Australia has a beautiful and well researched site on the subject: “Wine Literature of the World”… But what about writers and drinking? No shortage of amusing and frightening examples here, from Poe’s “What illness can be compared to alcohol?” to Hemingway’s “Paris was a moving Feast”, and many who sought inspiration, or absolution, in the bottle.
Yet at least one of the great religions of the world, Islam, bans the consumption of alcohol. And for good reasons: the series of disasters caused by alcohol abuse is endless, from horrific drink and drive dramas to domestic violence and costs to society… But is prohibition conceivable today?
Then there is the variety of beverages, the beers of Germany and Czech Land, Belgium, India, Italy, Alsace… and of course the grapes and grain alcohols: from the sumptuous Cognac and Armagnac to the wonders of Scotland, the sharp Schnapps and Vodkas, without forgetting Grappa and the Kentucky treasures.
And so, what of this blogger then? Smiling all the way to the cellar: learning to drink – with reason if not moderation – takes time and… love: a shared pleasure, and, yes, part of the geometry of living.