Friday night, my friend Christy and I decided to finish our evening out with a stop at the Upper West Side wine bar Wine & Roses. I consulted my iPhone’s Yelp app for a wine bar, double-checked the bar’s website for its wine list (the site has since expired, frustratingly), conferred with Christy, who is a Master of Wine and an all-around interesting woman, and we set off to the bar.
I was looking for something white, something dancing, something more achingly fleshy than bone-dry, and something I’d never tasted before. I asked for a taste of Pratello Lieti Conversari 2008, this Lombardian mono-varietal of Incrocio Manzoni about which I knew nothing. I liked the description that held a delirious cluelessness. Being someone who writes wine descriptions for a living, I get a thrill when I encounter a description that reads like the wine eluded the writer. I take that as a good sign, so I ordered it, and I was not disappointed.
Indeed, the wine was precisely what I was looking for. It drank like the slanting sunlight of a late summer afternoon. I got this image of lazy cicada sounds in a field of mellowing high grass, the light that’s fading from lemon-bright to lavender tinted gold, and the feel of summer heat tempered with the cool of the coming evening. I liked the weight of the wine in my mouth, the way it clung to my cheeks, and its coy interplay of spice and tartness. It was swell, in short, and I’d love to get it again.
So I did what we do in the twenty-first century and popped open my latest wine app, Vivino, snapped a scan, uploaded it, and waited. The app didn’t at first recognize the label, but less than 24 hours later, I received an email that told me what I had drunk the night before. It’s now saved in perpetuity both on my Vivino account and in my email box. I need never forget what I drank, as long as I’m tethered to my electronic iLeash.
This wine-soaked experience of low-fi enjoyment—a lazy circular conversation with a friend, chatting that made swallow-swooping arcs over terroir, astrophysics, Paul Ryan, bug feet, cowboys and yoga—bracketed by high-tech necessity speaks volumes about modern life. The things that brightly go blip across our screens and our consciousness can be deeply helpful, but they’re eclipsed by the analog warmth of human contact and the viscera-deep pleasure that a simple glass of wine can offer.