Why are we here?

Written by Al Drinkle

"My people were entirely Nordic, which is to say idiots. Every wrong idea which has ever been expounded was theirs... Until I was about ten years old I never realized that there were 'warm' countries, places where you didn't have to sweat for a living, nor shiver and pretend that it was tonic and exhilarating. "
-        Henry Miller

 Why are we here? And I'm not posing this as an existential question, though stand by for a Sartrean assessment of wine in the coming weeks... What I mean is, why do we live this far north, freezing our asses off for half the year and dealing with the time-wasting inconveniences that accompany sub-zero temperatures? If your rejoinder warbles around the virtues of character building or the appeal of alpine sports, you're dismissed for being asinine in the first case and Panglossian in the second. And yet here I am, very committed to this gelid hell of a city as both a homeowner and business investor.
But if you love wine, living here at least offers certain enriching experiences that denizens of more humane climes know nothing of. Ever been to Châteauneuf-du-Pape in the summer? Did you feel like drinking the local wine? Why did everyone think it was so daft that I wanted a cold glass of Muscadet? The wines of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, like those of Priorat, Bandol, Puglia, Madeira and the olorosos of Jerez, make more sense to the suffering inhabitants of frozen nations than they do indigenously. There's no way that a monster glass of Collioure tastes as good whilst soliciting a Mediterranean sunburn as it does after a 45-minute trudge in -20˚C.

I don't know why we're here, geographically or existentially. But as a very minor concession for our northern misery, we should take advantage of the fact that we imbibe certain wines with more acute gratification than those who enjoy reliably comfortable habitats.