Monday, January 17, 2005

Philosophy and Wine
Oh dear, I've just found out I'm a moron!

Moron - from Merriam-Webster Online
Pronunciation: 'mor-"än
Function: noun
Etymology: irregular from Greek mOros foolish, stupid
1 usually offensive : a mildly mentally retarded person
2 : a very stupid person

Why am I a moron? Well I drink Australian wine. Who has called me (and most probably you) a moron? This little fellow. He did it at the first-ever "Wine and Philosophy" Conference at the University of London. He said "Australia is a big problem. It is a landscape that has been dragged from hunter-gatherer to farmer in 200 years." Australians have generally not, therefore, "built into their wine 'le gout de terroir'", choosing instead to make wines at 14.5% alcohol, and to brand them for sale in "the moron market".

Scruton says that it is morally acceptable to get drunk in moderation on some Old World wines but not on those produced in Australia. According to the Professor, fine wine is marked by "terroir" and by the integration of the alcoholic taste so that one cannot notice it. Moderate intoxication caused by such wines is laudable because it enables the drinker to make "communion with the immanent reality, history, geography and customs of a community. The flavour is imparted by the principles of settlement."

I was born in Australia over 50 years ago. For the last 20 years I've lived in the USA and traveled, almost annually, back to Australia. If Australia is devoid of reality, history, geography, customs and settlement then I guess I am a moron. But I think we all know who the moron is, don't we Professor? It comes as no surprise that Scruton (how I would love to write another word in there) is a Professor of Philosophy. Its a bloody pity he can't get his Eurocentric brain into a gear high enough to join the rest of the world in applauding the "terroir" that exists in Aussie wines.

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