Beer and the philosopher. (Expect lots of parentheses)

I know. It's been a little while between blog posts. Aside from missing my muse, I figured it was time for me to devote some energy and thought to my TED talk. You know, actually formulate something that someone would sit through or You Tube. So... As part of this process, I decided to sit down over a beer or two with a friend of mine who happens to be a philosopher. (What? Everyone doesn't have a friend who is a Philosopher?)

Why, you ask, is that relevant to this wine blog post. Well, my TED talk explores the reasons why we talk about wine the way we do. Our need for finding familiar terms and expressions to put the experience into words. Why we choose the words we do. Where that wine language has its roots. (Does anyone really believe that centuries ago someone living in what we now call the Middle East might have sipped a mug of red wine and thought "I'm getting raspberries and strawberries with a hint of black current ")?

So, I'm exploring how we got from what was probably tribal, local (or, at best, regional) descriptions to what has now become a global language.

Now who better to get cerebral with than a full fledged, real life philosopher. Over beer!

I will avoid the urge to wax poetic about the fact that I was drinking a light Kona Brewing ale while philosopher consumed a dark and brooding Black Butte Porter. Make of it what you will. But about an hour in (and a lot of talk about empiricism, value theory and phenomenology) I was ready to consume a six pack of porter myself.

Turns out, asking a philosopher to help on your search for answers might not have been the best idea. Might have had more success if I was searching for the meaning of life or why I suck at love. But I really believed that somewhere, somehow this conversation was going to get me to a greater understanding of why it is so important to us to have a "language" that allows us to describe these little wine epiphanies in a way that reaches the most people.

As I've said in previous posts, (let's pretend there is a link for your convenience here) wine memories are about moments shared. And while a silent stare or unspoken acknowledgement often speaks volumes... More times than not, we need to say what we are feeling (that loud noise you just heard was every woman who's dated a guy cheering). Which is why I am on this quest to figure this out. How do you describe "aromas of honeysuckle and jasmine " to someone who's never smelled that? How do you communicate the "wonderful, traditional, barnyard elements of a fine Burgundy " to someone who has never left the inner city?

Well about four beers in, the philosopher could only tell me that maybe, just maybe, these people have no idea what we're talking about... they just nod in agreement ... and take another sip. Hmm.. Wine tasting is actually about tasting the wine and not talking about it? And that's OK? Inconceivable! (Every blog involving a philosopher should have at least one Princess Bride reference). Apparently, it's not about us, after all. Wait! Not about me? Who's going to You Tube a TED talk that's not about me? Well I'm off to find a new philosopher. I'll keep you posted on my progress.


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