Thursday, November 9, 2017

Happiness Is $13 Wines

Every now and again I get to enjoy the generous enthusiasm of other wine lovers.  Being a guest for these experiences has afforded me access to an echelon of wines I never would otherwise be able to taste.  I'm grateful for this, but I'm also glad my daily bread is exploring the universe of more moderately priced offerings.

Having recently drunk through a quiver of (someone else's) expensive wines, I'm reminded of something from this blog six or so years ago.  Following is a repurposing of that article.

David Brooks of the NY Times wrote an op ed piece about the Haimish line. According to Brooks, Haimish is "...a Yiddish word that suggests warmth, domesticity and unpretentious conviviality."

I can't do his piece justice without committing aggravated plagiarism (really, it's worth a read), but in it Brooks argues that when choosing nicer, more luxurious options over the simple, less expensive, you distance yourself from the discovery more plentiful in spontaneous, communal experiences.  He also draws a loose, but compelling connection between living below the Haimish Line and being happy.

I believe this to be true.  Not that happiness is unattainable above the Haimish Line (hell, 600 thread count sheets make me happy), but in focusing less on trappings we avail ourselves more to immersion and, well, laughter.

This got me to wondering: Is there a Haimish line for wine?

There is.  It's a wandering, blurry line connecting data points as slippery as one's ideologies, but it's a line all the same. Wine's Haimish line is the price, story, lineage, brand, etc. above which lie your expectations and below which resides your appetite for adventure and exploration.  Tough elements to quantify, but in actively seeking out experiences under the Haimish line, you open your mind and senses with purpose while suspending prejudices.  This sense of wonder is not only essential to connecting with the soul of your surroundings, but is a gift on parallel with contentment. 

If that resonates even a little, how can it be anything but great?

So, which wines are below the Haimish line?  Eveyone's line is informed by his and her own experiences, circumstances, hopes, and dreams, so it's impossible to predict which will fall where for you.  But chances are that merely knowing about the line, you'll find more wine lying beneath it.

Anecdotally, Matt Kramer, longtime columnist for Wine Spectator lamented the predictability of great wines in his article 'Why I No Longer Buy Expensive Wine'.  In it he confesses an overpowering desire to pursue surprise over security.  I'm guessing Kramer got the memo about the Haimish line a while ago.

Happy hunting.

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