Wednesday, March 3

Is today’s youthful wine tomorrow’s daddy’s wine?


Daddy’s wine

To put it simply and assume from the outset the “cliché” side of this column, wine was in fashion yesterday. Because yes, the taste of wine responds to a fashion, such as clothes, hairstyles or humor. The low waist pants seem to be behind us for a long time (hopefully), the perm has lost its aura and Michel Leeb does not buckle many people anymore. Tastes change. Wine too. Before papa’s wines, there were even grandpa’s wines. The one he drank in the 1960s. It was not very concentrated, sometimes very rough. More subtly, let’s say that its tannins were more rustic. Like the pine table in the living room. This did not prevent it from being good, but not necessarily in the sense in which we understand it today.

Papa’s wine was born in the mid-1980s and reached its peak in the 2000s. It delights in ostentatious and bling-bling, it throws in. It is strongly oaky, vanilla, thick, rich in taste, alcohol and texture. In short, it imposes. Twenty years later, we have the right to find it “tiring”, too concentrated, especially when faced with a cuisine whose tastes aim for finesse. And then, it caused drifts on the low end, such as the infusion of shavings in the vats to give it that famous woody taste. No thanks, really, don’t insist.

It is a positional drink that makes it possible to say “I have mastered the codes of elegance”, but also “I have the means”.

Papa’s wine, however, has an undeniable quality: it has no flaws. The specifications of the appellation from which it emanates guarantees a production in the tradition of the place, a valid tasting that he tastes of the place. In short, that it is classic. Admittedly, it does not have the charm of the unknown, we make few great discoveries. But it is a safe bet, like a good blanquette or a coq au vin, raw jeans or a sketch by Pierre Desproges.

In general, the label is sober, chic, and the appellation rather prestigious. Papa doesn’t drink burgundy, he drinks chablis. He doesn’t drink Bordeaux, but a Médoc, or even a Saint-Emilion when it’s party time. And he doesn’t drink ribs at all. Quite simply, papa’s wine is statutory. It is a positional drink that makes it possible to say “I have mastered the codes of elegance”, but also “I have the means”.

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A 25-year-old post-student who brings home a daddy’s wine either bought the bottle at random because he didn’t know anything about it, or a desire to rise up socially, or a taste for moccasins. And my goodness, it’s his right to be old-fashioned, we are not the police of good taste. And if we consider that old-fashioned wines are becoming furiously trendy again, he can claim to be at the forefront of the avant-garde. Because fashion, it is well known, is an eternal restart.

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