Saturday, August 23, 2008

Famous Drunk Guys (Belated)

Yesterday was the birthday of a few drink-worthy individuals.

The first August 22 birthday of note belongs to Claude Debussy, one of my favorite composers. He falls in the late Romantic to early 20th century period, and his music has an incredible, ethereal quality that has been described as Impressionistic, although he didn't see it that way. It's also really fun to play, although I wouldn't try it after having been imbibing. That would probably go as well as my attempted yoga "Moon Salutations" on the beach a couple of weeks ago (half a bottle of wine + soft sand + yoga = thank God the sand is soft!). If I had a piano, I would have pulled out "Clair de Lune" and stumbled through it. I don't know if he was a "drunk guy," but he was French, so he must've liked wine, right?

To drink to Debussy: We need something that evokes calm and sweet memories of lazy summer afternoons or languid evening walks holding hands under the stars. The 2006 Big Fire Pinot Gris from Oregon is a favorite and would fit the bill nicely. If you want to go with the French theme, the Perrin et Fils Cotes du Rhone Reserve Blanc, a blend of Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, would also be a good choice with its silky mouthfeel and nectarine and honeysuckle flavors.

Yesterday was also the birthday of science fiction writer Ray Bradbury. His Martian Chronicles was one of the books that kicked off my interest in speculative fiction. Again, I don't know if he qualifies as a "drunk guy," but he's 88, so it wouldn't surprise me if he avails himself of wine's health benefits. Plus, most sci-fi authors I know do drink. If anyone has information to the contrary, please let me know.

I like to drink red wine while I write my own sci fi, so I shall have to choose a red to go with Ray and his Martian Chronicles. The rust-colored planet says Pinot Noir, which often has a pretty ruby hue, so I'm going to go with a favorite here: Foris Pinot Noir from Oregon. I can't pick a vintage because I've liked all the ones I've tasted.

Finally, yesterday was the birthday of Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe, the wife of Edgar Allan Poe. The first cousins married when he was 27 and she was 13. That last sentence highlights how things have changed in the past century and a half. Back then, Edgar was not arrested, and no one assumed they were from the South. When she died of tuberculosis in 1847, he turned to drink, so the "famous drunk" connection is actually tangential to her husband. This highlights another difference between then and now: dark, gothic writing = cool; emo, OMG my life sux = not cool.

My recommendation for Ms. Clemm: To raise a glass to this young woman married to one of the greatest writers of all time, we need something delicate, but also stronger than expected. How about a Chilean pinot noir? The 2006 Veramonte Pinot Noir (Casablanca Valley) is actually a berry bomb for a Pinot, and surprisingly full-bodied with nice oak to keep it from being too Zin-like.

References/Disclaimer: I have to thank Garrison Keillor and his Writer's Almanac for calling these birthdays to my attention. If you're a writer, are interested in historical tidbits about writing, or like poetry, it's worth a listen. Each segment is about 5-6 minutes long and includes writing history, famous birthdays, and a poem.

All opinions expressed about the above individuals are my own. Facts are from Wikipedia.

FYI, I'm pouring wine at Sherlock's this afternoon with Hubby. Come and say hi and mention you read my blog!

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