(Funny how reading this, I want to rewrite the whole thing, but it is too late, it's going to be in print before I know it)
The Principle of Nature
In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful.—alice walker
To go ahead with my foolish idea of making Sagrantino in California, I had to do it as Jason Lett had suggested, according to my “principles.” Yet I was queasy with placing too much emphasis on principle. How one treated a wine was not a moral issue, after all. Wine in a vat was not the same as a chicken cooped up in its cage. Wine was not a goose being force-fed to fatten its liver. I didn’t intend to strike up a debate about the “piety” in a wine’s source, as in Michael Pollan’s Omnivore’s Dilemma or Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. I liked my wine free- range, but still, a bottle of Pineau d’Aunis couldn’t stare me in the eyes and lick my face, and if I abused a Gamay grape, its drinker wouldn’t scream in horror. Still, when a wine has been manipulated, I, as the drinker, would scream or at least decline the wine and reach for a reliable alternative, like gin or scotch.
I came to my so-called principles because the wines I enjoyed the most were made under a guiding philosophy based on nothing added and nothing taken away. This actually sounds like a delicious ideal, yet the relevance of the ideal, and the wines, seems to be endlessly debated.