A friend of mine recently told me that he thinks wine must be the ultimate slow food. (For a description of the Slow Food movement, see this site. Quickly!) At the time, I brushed off his comment out of a particularly obstinate partiality and affection for artisanal cheeses, breads, and cured meat. But a few days later–and more to the point, a few glasses later–I’m beginning to agree.
Like many slow food traditions, winemaking methods have been passed through generations and honed over time to become an art form. However, I can’t think of any other food that is as much a reflection of time and place as wine. Even if you believe the concept of terroir to be elitist hooplah, perhaps you can appreciate that soil-to-label, every vintage has its own juicy story. Granted, to some people it may read more like a chemistry textbook than fine literature, or even a Danielle Steele novel, but the real point here is that wine makes you slow down and ponder all of this. Hopefully, the last time you saw someone chugging a glass of wine was in college. More likely than not, the wine was bad enough to justify it and you were right there next to Bluto holding your nose and gulping. But a good wine, even a decent one, demands time, and contemplation, and chilling out. It whispers seductively in your ear, “Don’t go yet. I bet you’ll taste something different in the next sip.”
And to the point that, technically, wine is not food at all? Well, perhaps it’s not, but it can change your experience of other foods in unexpected and exciting ways. And it’s certainly nourishing.
So for now, until I make myself a salumi sandwich on pugliese, wine shall reign my King of Slow Foods.