In Gurvinder Veritas

Still in my head from last night are reminders of the eight wines we tasted under the baton of Gurvinder Bhatia, who is @edmontonwineguy, the Epicurus of Jasper Ave.

It was a lecture titled "Wine With A Sense Of Place," and there Shelagh and I were with about 80 other UAlberta vintagees around tables in the Newman Centre in the basement of St. Joseph's College drinking and thinking about Burgundy or the Limari Valley or Tuscany or Oliver.

The glass of 2013
It was a place for all those descriptive words that flow to the surface whenever wine is the topic of conversation. Minerality. Acidity. Oaked or non-oaked. There are hints. There is complexity. And heaviness. Or summer. The wine dances. Or waits to be remembered. Or it remembers the time of waiting.

It's all pretty esoteric stuff, but I am still mulling over three lessons Gurvinder left us with when it comes to wine—and life.

1. Don't generalize. It is absurd to say you don't drink, say, Chardonnay. As if somehow Chardonnay is category discrete enough to allow that kind of discounting. But it isn't. Chardonnays vary widely, as does even the same Chardonnay year to year. In wine, in art, in music, in people, don't generalize.

Gurvinder gets in your head
2. Don't not taste. When considering whether you will try a glass or bottle of wine, try it. The worst that can happen is you don't like it and won't try it again. The best that can happen is that you will discover something new, really new, not the commodified new, but that great sense that what is in front of you is new and worth loving.

3. Remember those behind the label. This is a radical and invigorating proposition. And it's that a winemaker in France or Italy, Argentina or Niagara on a particular stretch of soil, under a particular sun cares more about you and the richness of your life than you may ever dream. He, she bottles that humanity in a wine that is lesser known because resources are not diverted into packaging and marketing. And those wine makers are worth supporting by our effort of seeking them out, listening to the conversation they have started, and by our decision to buy their work and spread the word.

It was a good, human night. Cheers!


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