I heard them long before they approached. The ground rumbled and the few trees that still clung to their leaves during this cold month finally shed them all, perhaps in fear that they be thought to hide anything, or worse yet, be mistaken for the WRONG sort of tree, if you get my meaning. From over the southwestern horizon I heard the rumbling of their metal roundness. Should the news not have reached you yet, in whatever kingdom you call home, let me be the first to herald the news. The Stelvin Army has sailed from far shores in the service of a great new crusade. This self organized group of lowly merchants has been possessed of some otherworldly spirit, and in its grasp they sweep through foreign lands breaking the shackles of tradition wherever they go, and purging the countryside of the dreaded TCA which for so long has held peasants and nobles alike in fear.
I have not lived long on this Earth, yet I do know this much: when a mighty force of the people embarks on a journey of liberation, by very force of its conviction, it shakes the halls of the powerful, who cannot help but respond with their own force, should they care for their own survival. Everything must have its balance, every acid, its fruit, every red, it's white.
So I was not surprised when, not days after the first sign of the Stelvin army began to flicker on the horizon, that the government's opposing force took to the roads. But this was no populist army driven by a mission from Bacchus. No, this was a well organized and funded government army who saw in the approaching Stelvins an end to a way of life for their people, and a grave threat to the economy. With the force of a whole government, even a whole nation behind them, the army of Cork chose a sporting hero to lead them into battle, one which they hoped would stir the spirit of the people to help rise up and oppose the winds of change.
So here I sit, on my hill above the vast plains of winedom, as the banners of the two forces march into view. It will not be long before a pitched and lingering battle takes place. It will be a battle of tradition against technology, aesthetics against convenience, and the interests of drinkers against the interest of cork farmers. Like most battles that merge ideology and money, each side has legitimate grievances, but as a drinker, I cannot help but for the Stelvins to prevail. It will be difficult for the conquered at first, to lose their livelihoods and to let their precious trees alone, but in the end it will be for the best.
The wine world is ripe for revolution.
A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. 2015 Roederer Award Winner.Learn more.
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