Sitting on the bench, waiting for dinner on Friday night at IPNC, I reflected on the earlier discussion about perceptions of wines and how to characterize them. For me, the arts--and particularly music--are a vehicle to think about wine.
And in that sense, I thought about the evolution of my taste. Our taste in music is not static. Many of us first came to love music with Top 40. Whether it was "Cousin Brucie" in New York or Casey Casem's syndicated countdown or the Billboard Top 40 or whatever...when we were young, we grooved to the hot songs of the day. Pop music was our thing. It was enjoyable. It was easy listening.
Neil Diamond was a favorite. "Song Sung Blue" was a chart-topper in 1972. So was Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen's "Hot Rod Lincoln." And Jim Croce's "You Don't Mess Around with Jim."
Eventually, my taste in music evolved. Became a little less mainstream. "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor on the Bedpost Over Night" and "I'm Henry the Eighth, I Am" no longer did it for me. I wanted something a little more thought provoking...a little edgier. Harder rock. Folk rock. And as I got older, it broadened and evolved some more. Some jazz. Some country. And then some classical.
I could go on with that, but the point is that the same thing happened with my taste in wine. I started with ripe, pleasant fruit-driven wines. The Top 40 of wine. Nothing very subtle. Just enjoyment. They might have been from California...Washington...the Barossa Valley...or perhaps Argentina.
Over time, just like Top 40 became a little boring, these wines left me wanting more. More depth. More complexity. More interest. From the everyday ripe wines, I transitioned to the better Napa wines. Perhaps the wine equivalent of better rock. Still what some call "Big Flavor" but more interesting. Not just easy drinking.
And as my music taste continued to evolve, so did my wine taste. Is great Chablis the equivalent of cool jazz? Maybe. Aged Bordeaux a symphony? Maybe. Chambolle-Musigny a sonata for piano and violin? OK. Maybe I'm pushing it.
But it does seem like our taste in those things we really enjoy evolves...deepens...matures. I think we start with Top 40. And over time, develop an appreciation for greatness. The more we know, the more we appreciate complexity. And if we have to listen carefully to appreciate it, we're ready to do that. Each of us finds our own place, and our own pace, on that journey.