Two part question Terry: if riesling as a varietal in general were a musician or band, who would it be? Same thing for Champagne…who’s the wine’s equal in the music world?
Katie, I’m gonna have to date myself. (At least I’m a cheap date…)
back in the 70s there was a vein of sort-of rock sort-of jazz which is now being called “Canterbury Rock” in the current prog circles. It was marked by great complexity, cleverness, melodic beauty and sophistication, and of course lack of general popularity. The apex of this category was a band called Hatfield And The North, who made two LPs, the first one just eponymous and the 2nd one called The Rotter’s Club. For me they’d stand for many Rieslings and Champagnes - which are in any case cousins if not siblings.
I think when you get to the wines with gravitas, usually the older ones, the ones that make you sad and make you cry but not BECAUSE you’re sad, then you look at maybe Peter Gabriel’s ballads - Mercy Street, Don’t Give Up, the amazing one about the skydivers (whose name escapes me).
I mean, there are plenty more, and this kind of conversation happens with wine-loosened tongues and late-evening riffing with ideas rat-a-tatting around the room.
How would you answer your own question?
And thanks for words you have written elsewhere, which meant a lot to me.
Mercy Street is probably one of my favorite Gabriel songs because it is so utterly moving, so I’m with you there, and to that I would add his song Sky Blue.
I guess, since you turn the question back on me, who I most see as resembling riesling is Frank Zappa. Those that are “geeks” of a sort adore Zappa and are reverent of his genius. Then there are those that try listening to Zappa time and time again but just never “get” his music and throw him into a pile with other musicians they think are overrated.
As for champagne, this may sound rather dorky but I would equate it with Bob Schneider, someone most have probably never heard of. Bob is my champagne simply because he’s what I have the most of and refuse to live without. But as you said, there are plenty more…and you are more than welcome for the kind words—praising beauty is easy.
For me Zappa is too often spiky and too much into the Edgar Varése and Karlheinz Stockhausen avant-noise idioms. Mind you, he’s a hero of mine, and I like a lot of the music, though I sometimes wished he’d 86 the irony membrane.
Riesling’s beauty can be rarefied and sometimes demanding, but it’s always, discernibly, beautiful.
Your question was wonderful, though. Got any more?
Point well taken, although beauty is subjective thus even his “noise” is discernibly beautiful to some.
As for more questions, that is a dangerously large levee to put a crack in! But i will start here: most wine writing bores the snot out of me, and interestingly enough, the two whose words move me are yours and Randall Grahm’s, two men that don’t, in essence, make their livings as writers. In the din known as wine writing, I’m curious whose (if any) you enjoy, and who you admire in the general field of writing. I’d also ask who bores you and/or who is a talentless twat but that question is probably better answered in a quiet corner somewhere!
One doesn’t see “twat” used nearly enough in prose. A really noble word.
Katie, I’d take issue with you about beauty, though not here and not now. There’ll be a way and a time.
Among the people who write about wine, I think my list of good writers won’t surprise you. Hugh Johnson of course, and in his vein one includes Gerald Asher. Jancis’ prose is effective and agreeable. Andrew Jeffords is sometimes perhaps florid, but when he’s good he’s wicked good, as they say here in Boston. Oz Clarke is engaging. Passages in Jacqueline Friedrich can stop you in your tracks. There are others I am sure I’m forgetting.
Writers I admire fall into these three groups: 1) I admire what they write. 2) I admire how they write, and 3) I admire both. More important are the ones I not only admire, but love, those whose prose I read for the pure visceral pleasure. Laurie Colwin. Lawrence Osborne. F. Scott Fitzgerald, in his later years. Ron Carlson in his early stories. HST until he became his own caricature. Certain parts in Shaw. The Lawrence of Sons And Lovers. Robert B. Parker almost all the time. Many of Roger Angell’s baseball pieces. Nicole Krauss at her best. remember I’m talking about prose qua prose here. And there are distressingly many writers I’m not calling to mind.
Great first post Katie.
Not exactly the same genre, but I wonder what wine Terry thinks of when he hears King Crimson’s “One More Red Nightmare”?
I think how witty it was that Bill Bruford played a perfectly formed rudiment (a paradiddle, if you must know) in one of his drum breaks.
ah, Laurie Colwin. Back when I read lots of fiction and often the novels were full of abused children and/or women (e.g., Bastard Out of Caroliana) or too much pus, ice, and snot (and squid) (see Annie Proulx), I claimed I had to follow such novels by reading the andidote - Laurie Colwin. Then she died and there was no more andidote (I’d neglected to save her food essays in case of emergencies) so I had to quit reading all those “literary” novels. I still demand great writing but I go for more humor.
Try “Rameau’s Niece” by Cathleen Schine or “Doctor Criminale” by Malcolm Bradbury. Wine writers? Your choices are fine (altho I’d add David Schildknecht if we could just get him an editor).
Not in the same vein as the others, Terry, but as you’re a frequent visitor to Austria you might enjoy A Nervous Splendor by Frederic Morton.
Odd, the link doesn’t come up for me… http://www.amazon.com/Nervous-Splendor-Vienna-1888-1889/dp/014005667X" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
Thanks for the tip!
Alongside Jamie Muir, right? If memory serves right they were both playing at the time (but then my memory ain’t what it used to be). Apparently that song had a running time of 7:07…or 707
If we gave a creative rhyming award here at WB, Katie would win for the first (and maybe last) ever use of “snot” and “twat” in the same paragraph.
You may be from Joisey, but you ain’t no Snooki!
I am honored. You should read my haiku!
I think this is where I’m supposed to be afraid.
I see a marvelous limerick in someone’s future, especially as “snot” and “twat” rhyme with so many other savory words.
Bruford and Muir were amazing, but despite my enthusiasm for early '70s Crimson (Starless…) I think the work of the double-trio Crimson (mid '90s) was even more interesting.
Lark’s Tongues in Aspic
that is all…
Great; now I can add to my voluminous accolades that my thread was hijacked by Robert Fripp.
Not possible…take back the power with a detour question: Do you ever rue what you do, wishing you were anything BUT a wine importer?