Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Rise of the Other

I still can’t quite believe it. Not a lot of sleep for me last night. At around 5am French time (11pm ET), when the New York Times and Washington Post called the election for Barack Obama, I could finally rest peacefully. Even through all the hopes, expectations, polling and predictions, it still seems slightly unreal. A lot of the commentary today is about race, which is understandable. I am not black, although as a member of a so-called “minority”, the symbolism resonates with me as well. However, what strikes me about his election is not so much that he’s black (which frankly, I couldn’t care less about), but that he is really our first 21st-century president, cut from a completely different mold than any previous others. I find it ironic that throughout most of the election, much was made about the average American not being able to relate to Mr. Obama, and yet I identify much more with him by far than with any other candidate of my lifetime (and not just because we went to the same school). Apparently I’m not the average American, either.

Now that we can all breathe a little easier, I can get back to tasting champagne. This morning, I was happy to discover not only that Barack Obama had won the presidential election, but also that there is a new and superb 100-percent meunier champagne about to be released. (Speaking of the ascendance of marginalized races.) Made by Jean Moutardier, it’s called Pure Meunier Brut Nature, and it’s unusually fine for the variety, demonstrating the characteristic minerality of the Vallée du Surmelin and feeling delicate, lithe and extremely expressive. (It would be wonderful if it could be packaged as it is in the photo, but unfortunately that’s not the real label.) If you don’t know Moutardier’s wines, they represent one of the reference points for meunier here in Champagne, although up until now they’ve always contained a small percentage of chardonnay as well. This is an inspired addition to their portfolio, and I look forward to drinking it again in the future.

10 comments:

Marty said...

Peter, thanks for voicing your political views and not being a wishy-washy neutral blogger.

Your blog may be my favorite. (Maybe because I'm a Champagne-loving Democrat who enjoyed a bottle of H. Billiot Brut Reserve to celebrate.)

Samantha Dugan said...

This Champagne loving Democrat toasted the evening with a bottle...okay, two bottles of 2002 Agrapart Mineral.

Anonymous said...

Peter:
I am just getting up to speed with your posts--the discussion of grafted v. ungrafted is thought provoking.
But it is this post that prods my emotions. After more than a week, I continue to receive messages, emails, and pictures from friends around the country; I continue to linger over conversations in the street or in parking lots; the results of this election still dominates dinner conversation. Since 1984 I have been doing legwork for one candidate or another. This one has been by far the most positive and special.
I was late to Obamamania. His speech on race demonstrated to me what an exceptional candidate he is (was). I am very pleased to have this man as the next president. He has a first class mind and a first class temperament.
But the point I would make is simply to note the outpouring of good feelings this election has released. I have never witnessed anything like it before. Many, many Americans, not just partisan Democrats, are expressing pride for their country, and are genuinely uplifted by what was done Nov 4. And I think you are correct, Peter: a page in history has been turned, and America now enters the 21st century.
(I drank Thackrey, an election tradition, and Peters out of magnum!) Yey!
Robert Boyd

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