I guess I should start out acknowledging that I received your letter breaking up with me….
And it would be dishonest for me to say that I haven’t seen this coming. Perhaps I should have taken the first step, but I guess I was satisfied to let our relationship go on as it was, all the while knowing that wasn’t the right course. So, thank you for doing what I wasn’t willing to do.
I only wish that, in breaking up, you had been honest with me and with yourself. You say “I still love you, and I’ll probably always love you.” The truth is, you haven’t loved me — truly loved me for who I am — for a long, long time. What you love is the idea you have of me. You love me for what you think I am or, more correctly, what you think I should be. But you don’t even know me anymore.
You say that “travel has ruined me” like travel changing me is something new. Over 500 years ago, I traveled north, not all that far really. There I was planted, and people tried to make me into what I was back at home in Burgundy. They couldn’t. I was different there. I was less ripe, I had less color. So they picked me earlier, oftentimes took away my color completely, blended me with another grape or two, and put bubbles in me. They made me into Champagne. And you love me there. You are fine with those changes that travel brought to me. — But when I moved to California, and the same types of things happened to me, except that I was more ripe instead of less ripe, I was darker in color instead of lighter in color, I was bigger instead of leaner, you say I have lost touch with who I am. But this is who I am, and who I always was. I have always reflected the place more than others. You used to love that about me, you used to know that. But now you’ve forgotten and left me because of this. I’m not different, you are.
What really, truly hurts is that you accuse me of sleeping around with Syrah. It wasn’t that long ago that you accused me of being too big, too ripe:
but then you tasted and discovered that you couldn’t tell the difference in me when I was riper or less ripe.
This isn’t new or even particularly unique to you. Eric Asimov, who writes about me sometimes for the New York Times often tells me what you do, that I am too ripe, too big — but when he tasted me blind the wines that won the tasting were the bigger Pinots:
Now, apparently because the alcohol excuse doesn’t work for you, you accuse me of being unfaithful with another grape, with sleeping around with Syrah. Do I need to show you again that you can’t match what you believe with what you taste? The truth is, you are looking for an excuse, you are creating a reason to leave. Well, just go on…..I don’t need you. But stop lying about me to my friends.
The simple fact of the matter is that we’ve lived now for too long in different worlds for us to get back together again. When is the last time that you’ve walked amongst my vines? When have you worked to take my grapes and make me into wine? When have you spent the time talking and tasting and, yes, drinking with those who make me in this New World — talking honestly with those who make me in a way that you claim you don’t care for? You used to want different opinion and thoughts, now you come and taste with those who make you feel better about your philosophy rather than those who challenge what you believe. You used to be open minded, now you are old and stuck in your ways, and it shows.
I suppose that was okay when you simply tasted me and told others – “I like this Pinot Noir but not that Pinot Noir.” But now you and your writer and blogger friends think it is your job to tell others how I should be made. Your job somehow, has become both winemaking consultant and philosophical crusader. The truth is, you and your friends live surrounded by concrete in San Francisco and New York and Los Angeles, and have the nerve to tell others what is “natural.” You live your lives lit up by neon and yet are presumptuous enough to tell me that the sun is too bright for me here in this New Land. You write and write and write about what is wrong with me — all the while I am more popular now, in more places and in more styles than ever — while you are your writer and blogger friends are not getting paid for a single word that you pen. No, I will be fine without you. You should worry more about yourself.