Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Evolution of a Different Sort...

In a recent post, I wrote about the relative importance of wine evolution vs. wine aging. Michael Pollan, in his  amazing book, Botany of Desire, explores the wonderfully twisty idea that certain plants have evolved human tastes in order to insure their continued existence.

In his sections on the apple and tulip, Pollan posits that these plants have selected for specific human desires (sweetness in the case of the apple, beauty in that of the tulip) through the generational physical manifestations that fire our imaginations. The book explores the possibility that both the human and plant are manipulating each other in a farthest-reaching evolutionary dance...just a wonderful thought to chew on.

Let's put this through the wine filter...can it be said that the first natural (arbitrary) cross between Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Franc which led to the creation of Cabernet Sauvignon, in turn lead to that new variety's hegemony among red grapes because it appealed to man's desire for richness and round fruit and structure? Did we choose to plant a lot of Cabernet in California because it happened to grow well and produce a tasty wine or did the grape fulfill our desires and therefore subtly compel us to spread its genetic material?

I don't that there is an answer, but what great fun to contemplate over a great glass of wine.

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