Tuesday, January 27, 2009

An Inauguration Wine

A new beginning. An about-face from ineptitude, secrecy, embarrassment, and hopefully no more mind numbing mistakes. What wine do you select to celebrate such a moment in history? I doubt that I have ever thought so long and hard about any wine selection. Should I pick something old, something expensive, perhaps elegant, unflustered, or maybe big and bold, something foreign or American? I became a US citizen in October 2008 but I am allowed to retain my Australian citizenship, so perhaps something from Australia. I searched my cellar row by row until I picked up a bottle of Jim Barry McRae Wood Clare Valley Shiraz, turned it over and read the blurb, and I knew I had my wine.

Miranda cried tears of joy on Inauguration Day and her tears still come easily whenever President Obama appears on the TV. I’m not immune to moments of emotion myself. We live in more than just interesting times, these are generational times, times that will turn into page turning history. And history flows over recent events like the sweet icing on a great and wonderful cake because on the day before President Obama’s inauguration the nation celebrated one individual whose speeches do move me to tears, do so now just typing his name. We will never know the joy with which Martin Luther King Jr would have greeted the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States had he been allowed to live. He would have been just a few days over 80 years old. His assassination on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee took all future joy away from him and from a nation. But an assassin’s bullet cannot shatter a dream, even time could not shatter the dream. The dream has now been carried on Dr King’s shoulders all the way to the White House. A day after he is celebrated a nation celebrated Dr King’s dream.

Why pick the Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz as my Inauguration wine? Quite simply the parallels of history. There is no other wine that I have that fits so well. Just like the election of President Obama the seeds for the McRae Wood were planted by a pioneer and visionary in the 1960’s and now the fruits of that labor can be celebrated. It is more than just a suitable wine because as is written on the bottle an inspired choice was made in the birth of this wine, just as Dr King’s dream inspired a nation to rise up and put hope and change above fear and secrecy.

In some respects it may seem trite to compare a winemaker’s accomplishments to that of Dr. King but in truth we all, at least I hope we all, strive to achieve greatness in our own way. Perhaps more poignant is the fact that so many can share in the success of that greatness. The 2003 Jim Barry McRae Wood Shiraz is one of those wines which tasted on any other day might have just been extremely good, but on the night of January 20th it was superb. Deeply colored, richly flavored and powerful, its vibrant acidity made it soar over its supporting firm powdery tannins to a lengthy finish. It’s a wine that has promise. It could last a few years. Its drinking window could be 8 years, easy!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Mick, Like us you have a dreamer in power. Unfortunately, the world is not ruled by dreamers, but by vested interests - be they on the right or left of politics. Now is the time for leaders who can at the very least make a clear and economically rational call on the credit crisis. Unfortunately, those of a social welfare conviction will make the wrong call. True and sad at the same time. Its a bit like Gaza, too much of the wrong things hurts so many who have no recourse and no voice.