Captain Planet Month(s): Heart 07/26/12

At long last, after two and a half arduous months, Captain Planet Month has come full circle, wending its wonderful way from start to Heart. It’s been an elementally illuminating journey to be sure, highlighting the oenological poignancy not only of Earth (already well established as a tasting note in wine), but Fire, Wind and Water as well, irrespective of whether any such poignancy actually exists for those other three. But while the four classical elements may be enough to placate your everyday alchemist or run-of-the-mill Avatar, I simply can’t stop yet.

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Actually I guess Avatar did have a Heart equivalent…just, less unspeakably lame, though.

In contrast to Fire, Wind and Water, it’s actually pretty easy to translate Heart into vinic terms. If you’ve never heard the word passion used in the context of winemaking, wine tasting or wine writing, you probably haven’t been listening very hard – or else you’ve been surrounded by unusually boring and dispassionate people. Heart really ought to figure into every facet of the oenological equation, and when it doesn’t, the resulting wines are generally just as insipid as those by whom they were vinified. But here’s the thing: passionate winemakers aren’t exactly hard to come by, and neither are wines about which I’m personally passionate. And for this, the cardiac climax of Captain Planet Month, I felt I wanted something more challenging.

So…here we go!


Captain Planet Month: Heart

Heart. The feeblest of the elements, and the least explicable. Often erroneously touted as the driving force behind our human spirit (I’m looking at you, Dark City), the heart in fact is but a simple muscle, pumping blood hither and thither and, ideally, hither once more. In wine, Heart might mean many things, but today, it means only those things I mentioned a few lines ago.

The wine I’m going to review today, the Swedish Hill Svenska Blush, a nonvintage, semi-sweet rosè made in New York from unspecified grapes, was given to me by my good friend Saul, who brought it back from a trip to Ithaca.

This rosè is perfect for my Heart entry for a number of reasons. There’s the bond of friendship which inspired Saul to search for such a souvenir in the first place; there’s the vaguely pink hue exhibited by the human heart itself, once removed from its skeletal confines; and of course, there’s the connection between the Finger Lakes (where this wine was produced) and my own past, having myself attended college in Ithaca, where I spent four years and dated zero girls.

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Each one hotter than the last.

Unfortunately, the wine would prove about as satisfying as my love life. With the bottle in question billing itself as a “semi-sweet table wine,” I’ll admit my expectations were rather low, and I suppose they were met. Pouring an unremarkable shade of pink in the glass, my first impression upon sniffing and tasting was a wine that was “too sweet, but not incredibly sweet,” which acknowledges that while yes, there are sweeter wines out there, this one was nonetheless deserving of my scorn, owing to its disappointing lack of balance.

As my update schedule as of late has been, in a word, indefensible, I won’t linger on this wine too much longer, in the interest of actually posting something. In short, it tasted like straight grape juice – not bad, exactly, but boring.

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Livestock aromas might have made things a bit more interesting, yes.

I award the Swedish Hill Svenska Blush thumbs up. It may indeed be more refreshing than White Zinfandel, as it claims, but really that’s not saying very much.

But now that Ma-Ti has added his awesome power to the four before him, Captain Planet Month has finally reached its ultimate destination: Captain Planet!

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Oh, not yet? Sorry, my bad.

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