Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fanatics and Fanaticism: A Cosmic Supernova

Just wanted to make a post advocating the need for fanatics and fanaticism in our world.

I'm sitting here drinking a quite lovely Clayhouse Adobe Red Central Valley 2006 out of a ten ounce rocks glass that we use here at The Spro for cuppings. It's chock full of currant, black cherry, spice, pepper and fruit. A wonderful wine for fifteen bucks. On the way to work this afternoon, I had a hankering for some nice wine and decided to make a stop at my local wine shop where the owners are just as crazy as the coffee fanatics.

I wanted a nice drinking red for my evening shift that was under $20 a bottle. Off James (the owner, not The Hoffmann) goes, scurrying back and forth along the expanse of their show wall, looking over the various regions from France, Spain, Italy, Australia and the United States before selecting the Clayhouse as one of my bottles. When he gets into his mode, he's obsessed. He knows the wine and yet he still runs the stack like a madman obsessed with great wine. I'm captivated and enchanted by his enthusiasm, passion and fanaticism.

The first time I went by their shop, I was looking for something special. That was the first time I saw this crazy wine guy running back and forth to find something worthy. Then, when he spotted the object of his affection, a 2005 Chateauneuf-du-Pape Chateau de Beaucastel, he suddenly went into a trance. His eyes rolled into the back of his head and his body started in slight convulsions from the overwhelming joy he was feeling about the wine. "Good Lord, what is wrong with this guy?" I thought - almost scared that cosmic forces might combine into a supernova.

But is this a bad thing? Certainly, one can see it as odd. But do we need this level of psychosis and fanaticism in modern-day society?

I say: YES, WE DO!

It's this level of obsession that fosters excellence. I see it wherever I go and I'm warmed by it. I want to patronize those places where the people give a damn about their product. I want to listen to the expert. I want to learn and be guided by that person who sees amazing beauty in what might seem like an innate and inane object to me. I want that person to gently guide my course so that I too can learn to be nearly as fanatical - or at least, have an appreciation for that fanaticism.

So bring it on, people! Let that exuberance show through. Be fanatical. Be crazy. Be passionate. And let me know where you are because I want to visit!