Balancing Tradition and Progress

Critics of the ruling of the Supreme Court which guaranteed the rights of same-sex marriage remind me of those who oppose the introduction of modern methods in winemaking: in both cases there is a fear that long-lived traditions will be lost. But the key is balance. We must not lose the traditional aspects but preserve them while respecting diversity / Leggi in italiano

This past Friday, the 26th of June, there was a landmark ruling by the Supreme Court in the US that guaranteed the rights of same-sex marriage. In my opinion, this ruling was needed to bring us closer to true equality for all Americans. But I do respect that some may feel this is a threat to certain traditional ideas of marriage; this makes me think about the constant debates in New York City about traditional vs modern choices, and these choices even involve wine. 

Many years ago, when I first came to New York City, the wines I drank were either considered Old World or New World. The Old World wines were typically from countries with a long established winemaking culture such as Italy, France and Spain; New World countries were considered relatively new to winemaking such as the US and Australia. 

At first, the wines that were produced in the US were not respected by the international community. The 1976 Paris tasting, or better known as the Judgment of Paris, changed the perception of California wines, and hence, New World wines as a whole. The judges consisted of mainly well-known French tasters, who ultimately picked two California wines as best red and white wine. This was a wake up call for European countries, since they realized that there were better modern ways of producing wine that should be considered by Old World countries as well. 

But there have been critics of these modern practices that say they are a threat and cause the decline of distinct cultural expressions in wines. They create a homogeneous international wine style that has slowly encouraged the loss of long-lived traditions. 

It is interesting that the above argument is being used as well for those who are against same-sex marriage. There is a fear that it will threaten the traditional institution of marriage, which was only between a man and a woman; that it will threaten the idea of a traditional family, which was represented by a man being the father and a woman being a mother. 

Since I am a resident of New York City, I am faced with many varying opinions everyday. New Yorkers like to voice their opinions – walking down the street, on the subway or at their local store. There are some in favor of this ruling, and some that are not in favor. I love being faced with all of these different opinions everyday, because it opens my mind to different views. 

It is like the traditional vs modern winemaking debate. Is one better than the other? I think it is not that easy to say one is good and one is bad. There are valid arguments on both sides, and so we need to ask ourselves, “Which one brings us closer together as wine lovers?” And the answer is allowing them both.

That is why New York City is such a great city. There is an allowance of many cultures, many different types of people, and hence, we have every wine from around the world represented here. People do not feel confined by a specific tradition, and so, they can also allow their own individual colors to shine. 

Let us not lose those precious traditional aspects that make certain wines, as well as people, so special; but let us strive to improve upon those traditions to make them better for future generations.  

Cathrine's Recommendations

Everyday Drinking Wine (less than $15)

Lambrusco Amabile Cantina di Sorbara NV, Emilia-Romagna, Italy ($9):  A fun, semi-sweet lightly sparkling red wine. It is a delicious wine that pairs perfectly with pizza during warm summer months. A great alterative to Prosecco when you want a little more body and red fruit flavors. Serve chilled. 

Special Occasion Wine (from $15 to 50)

2012 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay, Napa Valley, California ($45):  The 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay was awarded first place for best white wine during the Judgment of Paris. A movie, Bottle Shock, was based on this historically important American winery. Their Chardonnay is beautiful with ripe peach flavors, abundant body with hints of vanilla and lilacs. A classic Napa Chardonnay. 

Fantasy Wine (over $50)

2010 Bedell Musée Red Blend, Long Island, New York ($90):  Long Island has come a long way within 30 years when it comes to winemaking, and this Musée is a stunning example. Complex aromatics of gravel, plum and chocolate notes are perfectly balanced with a complex texture of firm tannins, fleshy body and lively acidity. 



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