I had an, um, interesting evening tonight. I met up with a bunch o' bears at Splash, a wine bar a few blocks over from my house. Splash has a simple, gimmicky concept: lots of machines hooked up to wine bottles that dispense 1 ounce pours after inserting a debit card of sorts. I considered doing that, but then quickly realized that one of the great pleasures of wine for me is paying attention to the way a bottle unfolds over the course of an evening. A truly great wine, just like a friendship, a novel, a painting, or a movie, requires attention for more than a few seconds. Even if you don't like it at first, you've paid your money and you're stuck with it for the rest of the evening, so it behooves you to listen carefully, to pay attention, to do your very best to suss out what's unique, special, or interesting about it.
Just as the advent of E-Z Internet piracy made it possible to download hundreds of albums you don't really listen to (and thereby fail at understanding), wine bars like Splash can suck it. What's the point of drinking wine if all you do is flit from bottle to bottle, making quick first impressions that don't do justice to the care that went into making that drink? What's the point of drinking a dozen wines in an evening if none of them make an impression, if all of them scream quickly across the sky without care or thought?