Time Flies

Tortoise and Hare

Or does it? For the first-grader waiting for the recess bell, time crawls like a tortoise. But confronted with the first birthday pics of a child you'd swear was born 2 weeks ago, you might feel time racing like the proverbial hare. Why, as we accumulate more of it, do we perceive time as ever more fleeting?

According to an article in Scientific American, our experience of time 'varies with what we're doing and how we feel about it'. Our brains encode and remember new and novel pursuits differently than more mundane tasks. So as we age, and 'new' experiences make up less of our time, that time is remembered in a compressed manner. Thus, it seems to fly.

Seeking out some new experiences, I attended the Slow Wine tasting in Boston recently. Slow Wine, an offshoot of the Slow Food movement, purports to preserve and promote interesting, indigenous grapes and wines made by traditional methods. In this case, the opposite of 'slow' is not 'fast', but 'industrial'.

Perhaps since the Slow Food movement was born in Italy, the focus of Slow Wine is also unabashedly Italian. (Good) I was traveling with friend George, a veritable encyclopedia on the subject of Italian wine. (Better) And the wines: a haunting Lacrima di Morro d'Alba, a nutty Arneis, a -be still my heart!- grape I'd never heard of, Granazza, from Sardinia. (Great) An entire table filled with 28 different Luganas. (Best of all) Both the day and the wines did not disappoint.

Of course, a few of them were just plain weird. In particular, there seemed to be a curse on the Grignolino grape. The first one we tasted was just bland. The second had-oddly-a hint of sardine. The third smelled exactly like a teenage boy's hockey bag, and I decided there was no need to taste this. I enjoy novelty, I champion obscurity. But is it enough to be merely obscure? Isn't wine-first and foremost-supposed to be delicious?

I'm far from the first to pose this question. In his book Godforsaken Grapes, author Jason Wilson tastes a variety of obscure wines. One tastes 'super purple and chalky', another like 'eating fresh cherries while smoking a clove cigarette and burning leaves in the back yard'. Yet another gives him 'bitter almond with hints of bong resin', which he doesn't particularly care for. He worries about that. Could his dislike potentially sentence these grapes to extinction? 'As if I were Noah, turning some small mammal away from the ark, because it was weird and smelled like bong resin.' Well.

That's a deeply personal decision. After all, Wilson's bong resin may be your jam. My sweaty hockey bag may be your vase of roses. Still and yet, I'll continue trying to source wines that are new, unusual, AND delicious. Consider trying some-that new experience might just slow the march of time.