Sweet Taste of Sadness
You may wonder how it is possible to enjoy the sweet taste of sadness. You should really have been taught this in school, but I have found that much of what we ought to know isn't. So come to me, oh my beloved, and I will teach you one of the great secrets of the universe.
Oh. You'll need a fairly expensive bottle of wine for this.
The type of wine you get is very important. Don't try this with just any wine. You need one of those tiny bottles of the type of wine called "Ice Wine." My personal recommendation is the one called "Glazier" (roughly $20-25 per bottle. One bottle is more than enough for four people).
Here's the story of ice wine.
Grape vines are not the brightest of all plants. Most trees are much smarter - oak and ash are very wise, what with their great roots reaching down into the earth and all, pines are quite intelligent although they insist that YOU learn THEIR language, dogwoods tend to be a bit giddy, like teenage girls between classes, but they're no dummies either, if you can get them to buckle down and get to work. Willows - well, they have nice personalities. All trees, whatever their race, know that the winter is just an interlude, giving them a rest, allowing them to prepare for the next season out in the sun. Some shrubs get it, some don't. Grape vines, on the other hand, believe each year that they are dying.
Normally grapes are harvested before the vines go dormant - that is, while the vines still feel lively and strong. Thus, normal wine is the juice of happy vines and tastes like it. Ice wine, however, is a very different thing.
The grapes used to make ice wine are not harvested until they freeze solid. The freezing also makes the vines go dormant - which convinces them that they are dying (it's almost pitiful to see them crying, weeping, and carrying on, but it's hard to pity them when you know that they will pop back bouncy and vigorous next spring, forgetting completely their supposed demise. Every year the first thing they say when they wake up is "Boy oh boy, that was refreshing. I feel really good right now!").
The though of their imagined impending death makes them very sad, and so the vines weep their sorrow at leaving the sun and wind and rain of this bright earth into the grapes. It is these tears of sadness which give ice wine it's distinctive sweetness.
Now open that bottle of wine you bought earlier. Pour out a little bit into a delicate crystal wineglass. Pour some out for your three friends, or try it in pairs, or alone. Take a tiny sip - remember, just a tiny sip. Roll it around on your tongue and hold it there until you extract the full flavor. Don't swallow a sip until there is nothing new to be learned from it. Then wait a while and, when you are ready, take another. Never rush it. There will always be more in that little bottle than you really want at any one time, and if you gulp it, if you drink too much or too fast, the sweet savor becomes overpowering, disgusting and repulsive.
This is how to enjoy the taste of sadness.
Copyright 2010 B. de Corbin and Splendid Fish Studio