Champagne and the fallacy of perfect moments
I have never been one to shy away from enjoying small luxuries simply for the sake of having the opportunity to do so. I find we often wait for that "perfect moment" in which we feel it is appropriate to indulge - who is to say there is any exact moment to enjoy that special wine, wearing that expensive perfume, sporting those fancy Italian leather shoes. Why not enjoy them now? We are so caught up in waiting for the future - a hypothetical scenario where we envision our future perfect selves. Enjoy that wine now - look at it, smell it, sip it, how does it linger on your tongue? Does it have a lengthy finish? What does it make you think about while you're drinking it? Has it invoked deep thoughts? Did it inspire you to have an in-depth or soulful conversation with the people you chose to share it with? How does it make you feel?
A recent article I came upon in The New York Times describes this phenomenon perfectly:
“Yet the bottles we might open every day are actually the most important wines in our lives, just as the art we live with in our homes is ultimately more meaningful than what we might see on an occasional visit to a museum.”
We often forget that the reason we enjoy wine so much is that it is the sum of the entire experience that makes it so great. Have you ever purchased a bottle of wine that you shared with friends or family after a particularly amazing and memorable experience, only to open it again months or years later and it just *doesn't* quite taste the same? It's because the wine isn't just about what's happening in your mouth - it's about what you were celebrating and who you were with. Maybe you were sipping it on a beach at sunset with a loved one, staring longingly into each other's eyes, hearing the waves crashing and it hitting your lips at just the perfect temperature while your partner expressed a deep and meaningful sentiment.
So - with all of that in mind - I was gifted a bottle of 2009 Louis Roederer et Phillipe Starck Brut Nature from a winemaker friend of mine for Christmas. The bottle is beautiful, stylish in its presentation but with intentional imperfection, with almost a child like font and an out of place use of abrasive yellow highlight. I was so excited, but as mentioned, felt guilty for wanting to try it right away, and convinced myself I should hold on to it for that "perfect time". I caught myself in this cycle, and decided to let the moment happen organically, when it felt just right to open. I wouldn't save it to share it with only wine aficionados - I would open it when I was surrounded by loved ones, when the mood struck me.
Back to that "perfect moment" - I had gone skating with my family and returned home afterwards with my parents. We were having a quiet moment sitting around the fire, when I decided it would be the perfect time to open "that" bottle. We each quietly sipped from our glasses while I silently lamented to myself on its freshness, bright acidity and explosive citrus character, noticing some stewed fruit that exposed itself when I paired it with potato chips. I observed my parents lost in their own little worlds - my Dad perusing on his iPad throwing the Champagne back like beer, and my Mom slowly lulling to sleep on the couch while the wine quietly became warm. Another time in my life, perhaps disappointment would have set in that they didn't "appreciate" what I had so graciously shared with them. But now, what I'll remember is a beautiful day spent with my family, beautiful not because it was all that astonishing or remarkable, but because of its simplicity, and a perfect moment created all because I had chosen to make it so.