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The Fine Art of Doing Nothing
‘Find yourself a piece of grassy ground, lay down close your eyes’
-John Denver, Cool and Green and Shady
What did you do this week? If the answer is, ‘not much’, you’re in good company. At the moment, there’s quite a bit of ‘nothing’ going on. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
My own favorite way to do ‘nothing’ involves a chair in the shade, a good book, and a little wine. Sounds simple, right? But I’m actually weirdly specific about each of those elements.
The chair really does need to be in the shade. As much as I love the beach-and beach reading-that’s not what we’re going for here. Think cool green grass and a comfy chair. Definitely think shade. John Denver’s Cool and Green and Shady pretty much nails the vibe.
Then, a good book. Not a great book; this is no time to wade into War and Peace or Madame Bovary. Nor is it a time for a fluffy ‘beach read’. This calls for an intelligent book, but not something that makes you concentrate too hard. Currently, I’m loving Lisa Wingate’s Before We Were Yours, about the aftermath of a family torn apart by a terrible betrayal. Or The House at the Edge of Night, by Catherine Banner, with its splendid depiction of an isolated, near-mystical Sicilian island.
And a little wine. I’m not talking about volume; you can have as much wine as you’d like. No, a ‘little’ wine is just the opposite of a ‘big’ wine: interesting, fun, and tasty, but not a blockbuster, never described as ‘bold’. Not likely to score 99 in a blind tasting.
What sort of wine wins a blind tasting, anyway? If it’s a large professional panel, evaluating 30 or 50 or more wines in one sitting, then what wins is almost always ‘big’. When your palate is fatigued, ‘big’ still stands out. Does that mean it’s the best? Not necessarily. If we judged clothing the same way-by weight-then a fisherman’s sweater would always be superior to a tank top. And in December, it may well be. But if it’s 80 degrees in the shade, then give me the tank top. Please.
One of the best ‘little’ wines we have in stock right now is the Girard-Madoux Chignin. It tastes like an orchard-load of apples and pears took a dip in an alpine stream. For red, I adore Zenato’s Valpolicella, the ultimate marriage of bright fruit, smoky spices, and a hint of refreshing bitterness. Pink? La Belle Etoile’s strawberry, watermelon, and citrus do a little happy dance across your palate.
So if you have some time on your hands, give ‘nothing’ a try. Bonus points if you play Cool and Green and Shady.