Wine is as basic a thing as bread.
And Jesus knows, they go together well!
Here the core components are quite simple, but there are thousands of different styles for each. Each style was initially determined by the greater environment.
- Short time to make for early consumption: naan and Beaujolais Nouveau.
- Use of local flora: sourdough and wild yeast wines.
- Use of local supplies: marble rye and Retsina or pine resin wines.
- Celebratory desires: elaborate braids and bubbly.
- Stuff that travels well: matzah and port & sherry.
I believe that if we looked at wheat and grains the way we look at wine grapes, we could have some amazing bread tasting tours and celebrate bakers like we do winemakers. (Could you imagine hearing bakers say that the bread is made in the field and they try to do as little with it as possible? If so, then you would find Dan Baber)
Now, I do admit that there are some big differences between wine and bread. Wine is produced from a crop that occurs once a year. While wheat can have multiple planting and harvests in a year, dependent upon the growing zone. But once it’s made into flour, you can make bread daily. Wine requires multiple days to weeks to ferment, and months to years to age. Bread can be made start to finish in a few hours to a few days depending upon the kind.
But here is another thing that is highly different between the two -we’ve ritualized wine and complicated people’s association with it. No one would be
mocked scoffed at for not liking crusty San Francisco sourdough or told they are unsophisticated because they enjoy Hawaiian rolls. Reactions like this would seem ludicrous. Yet this routinely happens if someone doesn’t like a dry Cabernet Sauvignon and likes a sweet Pinto Grigio.
Wine and bread are basic, and in the end, simply food. This food might not agree with everyone -some don’t drink alcohol and others suffer from celiacs disease (autoimmune disorder triggered by gluten), but for the rest of us we should celebrate these lovely foods at any dinner table.
Both wine and bread can be beautiful artisanal foods or mass produced products. A person can enjoy Wonder Bread as well as a loaf of fresh baked bread.
Just as they can toast with Two Buck Chuck and that special bottle they found at that little-hole-in-the-wall wine shop that they are saving for their anniversary. Both have a time and place for people and should be enjoyed with their choices not judged.
As always it comes down to this: try it all, but drink what you like. (And don’t be a wine snob!)