Finish Versus The World
This post is an entry for the 16th Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC16), with the theme of “Finish”. Previous themes in the order of appearance were: Transportation, Trouble, Possession, Oops, Feast, Mystery, Devotion, Luck, Fear, Value, Friend, Local, Serendipity, Tradition, Success.
Ahh, the deception of simplicity. When the theme “Finish” of the new Monthly Wine Writing Challenge was announced by Jim Van Bergen of jvb uncorked, the winner of the previous round, my first thought was “great!”. Finish plays directly into the wine world, as one of the technical terms. Finish is so simple and self-explanatory as a concept, writing a post will be just a breeze… Or is it?
Deceiving simplicity started daunting on me. Yes, finish might be simple. But to finish something, you have to start it. And start is not simple. Start is difficult. Almost every time, presented with new challenge word, the brain says “I don’t like this word! why is it this word? It should’ve been that other word. Go away, I’m not helping you”. You have to turn that negativity around and gently convince the brain to do his magic and come with
something a good story which will have the start, the substance, and the finish. Only what you do if you have to come up with just the finish? Yeah…
Well, if you thought my writing is disjointed and disorganized as it is, this will probably be the most disparate, most blabbering, most rumbling post so far in this blog. Oh well. Either pour yourself another glass of wine and try to make sense of this epistolary exercise for yourself, or simply close this page and spend your time with something more coherent (you can still pour yourself another glass). You go make up your mind. Meanwhile, I will just let my mind to flow freely…
When it comes to the wine, Finish is an important technical term. It is usually defined by the duration of flavors still playing in your mouth long after the wine is swallowed. Not the exact time, but an approximate feeling of time the aftertaste, the flavors are still present – short, medium, long. Finish is also identified with prevailing flavors and how those are changing. The finish can start as fruity, and slowly change into tannic. Or it can be only acidic, for instance, or only tannic (think of a young Barolo). The winemaker doesn’t have a direct control over the wine’s finish – a lot of this simply a mind game. Same as for the taste of wine, there is no universal truth to the duration of the finish – some people don’t like the lingering aftertaste, and some are quite opposite. Which side are you on?
Like Whiskey? Which do you prefer – Sherry Cask Finish or Port Cask? Or may be Burgundian? In the world of whiskey, Finish has yet another technical meaning. It is not only an aftertaste. After an aging process in some standard type of casks, let’s say an American oak, Whiskey is often finished in the specific types of casks to impart the additional complexity – old Sherry casks, or Port, or Madeira, or Burgundy… Balvenie Doublewood, anyone? Or do you prefer Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban?
Bored to death with that technical stuff and can’t wait for it to finish? No problems. The wine is simply one of the most important life’s beverages, so let’s just talk about life.
Let me actually put you, dear reader, in a spotlight, and ask you a simple question – is finish a good thing, or is it a bad thing? Yes, we can’t wait for the useless meeting to finish. We can’t wait for the uncle Jack to finish his visit and leave, as he is so annoying. We can’t wait for the boring performance to finish, so we can go home. We can’t wait for the baby to finish crying, so we can finally get a moment of solitude. We can’t wait for the pain to finish and disappear, any pain.
But then on another side, raise your hand if you ever wanted that exciting Hawaiian vacation to finish? Yeah, sure, especially if you get a week at a time, as most of us do in U.S. No way! Or do you actually want the great evening with dear friend to finish? No! We don’t want the great book to ever finish. We don’t want a great TV series to finish.
Finish is an enigma. We both want it and we don’t. Finish never comes on time. Finish never comes fast enough. And finish comes so unexpectedly early. Think of that bottle of 1982 Bordeaux or 1964 Rioja – can you believe we already finished the bottle? What do you mean that was the last bottle??? We already finished the case? What do you mean “today is the last day of our vacation”? I can’t believe it is finished!
“Finish” often means an opposite to what we really want. In many cases we don’t want for things to finish. We prefer the journey, not the end of it. After finishing something big and important (not, I don’t mean that Big Mac sandwich), have you ever felt empty inside, emotionally drained? We like the pleasure of finishing, but we don’t like the pain of losing that sense of focus, the driving force which got us to that finish. And we don’t like the pain of thinking about what’s next.
And so we arrive to the life’s basic virtues – pain and pleasure. We would do whatever it takes to avoid pain. And we would anything we can to gain pleasure. There is essentially nothing else to the life outside of these two basic concepts of pain and pleasure – no, unfortunately, I didn’t come up with that, some other smart folks did.
After pleasure of finish comes pain of the start. But start we must, as standing still we will not gain us any pleasure, and this is not what we want, aren’t we? Okay, I hear you – it is time to finish this post. And I will let you ponder at a simplicity of a beautiful thing called life.
To the finishes and starts of our life! Cheers!