Few authors have contributed more to our collective literary canon than one Samuel Clemens, alias Mark Twain. And fewer still have been so eloquently, satirically, insightfully quotable.
On the subject of wine, Mr. Clemens was nearly without parallel or peer. For example:
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much Champagne is just right.”
Now, as a card-carrying member of that singularly cynical cabal oft known as the curmudgeon’s cadre, I must say I am rather especially fond of the Twain’s somewhat crankier pronouncements. Critics in the world of wine might, for example, wish to consider the following:
“There are no standards of taste in wine… Each man’s own taste is the standard, and a majority vote cannot decide for him or in any slightest degree affect the supremacy of his own standard.”
His self-deprecation was no less precise, and wine receives a rather delightfully backhanded compliment in the following:
“My books are like water; those of the great geniuses are wine. Fortunately, everybody drinks water.”
There is actually some debate as to the text of the previous; you’ll sometimes find it written as:
“High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.”
In conclusion, it is worth noting that Mr. Clemens was actually somewhat alone amongst his literary –as well as curmudgeonly– brethren, in that he relied not a bit on wine as a lubricant to his literary endeavors:
“As far as my experience goes, wine is a clog to the pen, not an inspiration. I have never seen the time when I could write to my satisfaction after drinking even one glass of wine.”
My feeling for this quote is that I enjoy especially “wine is a clog to the pen.”
Perhaps this is why I’ve always written on a typewriter.