“At three I started Hebrew school; at ten I learned a trade.
I hear they picked a Bride for me, I hope she’s pretty.
The Sons. The Sons.
“You’ve either got or you haven’t got style.
A hats not a hat, ‘til it’s tilted.
A flowers not a flower, if it’s wilted.”
It is that time again for another Monthly Wine Writers Challenge and this is the thirteenth challenge, and the theme was suggested by Duff’s Wines, and the theme is “tradition.” You will have to excuse me, but each time I looked at this word, those two songs kept popping into my head and a couple of the other more creative Wine Bloggers that I follow would have had some great videos inserted into the article, but I guess I am a bit technologically challenged.
I have been steeped in tradition of all types. My nationality has many traditions that I try to uphold, and even have tried to instill into my children. My neighborhood that I grew up in also had some new traditions; one could say that also shaped my outlook. Then there were the traditions that I acquired from literature, and of course someone of my age also grew up with traditions handed down through the Silver Screen of Cinema. I am probably a walking encyclopedia of tradition for the clothing industry as I remember some of the vaunted names of the past, and not to mention some of the great rules that governed men’s apparel. To give you just one example and it may be my favorite rule of tradition “a gentleman never wears a wrist watch with a tuxedo, because time does not matter when one is formal.” I guess a wristwatch was considered gauche, but one could always wear a pocket watch with a tuxedo.
Now the problem is that in my era, I also grew up with Non-Traditional ideas as well. My generation learned a new “tradition” from the Anti-Hero. From the swagger of a Rhett Butler, to the cynicism of a Rick Blaine or a Sam Spade; and then there was the Rat Pack, which turned a lot of traditions upside down in those “ring-a-ding” years. The cool guys had a bit of rebellion in them. In my day who was cooler than Steve McQueen? Even when he was the epitome of tradition of style and grace, he was still the perfect rebel in “The Thomas Crown Affair” and he was elegant in his beautiful wardrobe.
So what does all this rambling on and waxing poetic about clothes and social mores have to do with wine and more importantly about tradition? My readers of any length of time know that I live with a rebel to one of the great traditions of wine. My Bride loves red wines with her salmon. One of the long traditions of wine is that red wine goes with red meats and white wines go with white “meats” and fish is generally considered a white “meat.” Through trial and error one can always agree that a full bodied Cabernet Sauvignon or a Bordeaux blend pairs wonderfully with a steak or roasted beef. As the meat lightens in color, so do the wines. I enjoy a Merlot with venison, Pinot Noir with duck (anything else is sacrilegious to me), Grenache and Syrah with pork. With a wonderful filet, a Pauillac is Heaven sent. A Cote Rotie can be perfect with almost any other red meat, including a filet. Fish on the other hand usually requires something lighter so as not to overpower the delicacy of the dish. Is there anything more harmonious in life than a glass of Puligny-Montrachet with a perfectly prepared dish of fish?
Enter my Bride into the picture and her enjoyment of a red wine with her salmon, which is probably the fish she prefers the most, followed closely by a great filet of Ahi Tuna. When we are dining I always try to see what my little “rebel” is going to order, so I can order something for myself, and then find a wine that we both can enjoy together. Usually I go for a Pinot Noir or sometimes a Merlot, because to me these are the more feminine or softer wines and I can always find a wine that will make me happy.
So tradition be damned at times (did I just say that?), especially if it makes you happy. Without a doubt every time my Bride rebels against tradition, I also think of that great dialogue from another anti-hero hero Sean Connery as Bond, James Bond:
“Red wine with fish. Well that should have told me something.”
“You may know the right wines, but you’re the one on your knees. How does it feel old man?”