01 January 2009
The cellar may seem like a place of quiet and stillness. Interrogations and debates unfold there nonetheless. There is the obvious one, akin to that telling first glance of the class reunion: How well are you aging? There are therapeutic inner debates: Are you capable of change? Some bottles grow garrulous; others retreat, like stroke victims, to an island of silence from which they can’t be beckoned back. You hope, of course, for a modulated beauty, for every bottle to cross to a sunny upland of Jungian individuation, and the best manage just that. Sometimes, though, the juiciness of youth dries unaccountably into middle-aged rigidity; sometimes alcohol obtrudes or oak constrains; sometimes Brett emerges to dominate, like an unwelcome idée fixe in a oncesupple mind. Cork, too, punctuates the murmur with its jester’s laugh.