May 7th, 2008

I want to paraphrase a quote I saw on a t-shirt once. Unfortunately it will only be a paraphrase, and, equally unfortunately, I cannot remember at all who was being quoted and have no idea how to reclaim this information. The t-shirt was in a shop on Haight Street, that’s all I’ve got. Anyway, it was an artist who said that he lived a chaste life so that his work could be wild. Similarly, Frederick Exely, in a book he aptly titled A Fan’s Notes, wrote about living in the same neighborhood as Ernest Hemingway and expecting to see him out in the bars every night. By and by he realized, though, that while he, Frederick Exely, sat drinking in bars every night, Ernest Hemingway sat at home every night, writing about drinking in bars. So it is with the makers of Mer Soleil Chardonnay. There is not a drop of romance in the story they tell about their wines. In the space other wineries use for the biography of their vinter, or the interesting architecture of their chateau, the makers of Mer Soleil, instead, give us detailed reports of weather and soil conditions for every year they’ve been in operation, commentaries on the length of time they allowed themselves to harvest in a particular year, and comparisons of the different techniques employed from year to year. Nothing more. It’s quite Puritanical. And yet they produce a wine one reviewer called “pure decadence.” So come, enjoy a glass of Mer Soleil Chardonnay, maybe bring a copy of The Sun Also Rises and relish in the pleasure born of the diligence of devoted artists.

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