As today is the day the world mourns the anniversary of the passing of the great Thelonious Monk, I want to talk about Monk.
And because I work for, and write for, Ridge Vineyards, I want to talk about zinfandel.
There was, some months back, the temporary electrification of the interwebosphere over the question of zinfandel’s identity.
Was it — as the low-brow funky, populist sweaty, good-timin’ egalitarian, country mouse side would have it — the people’s grape? Approachable, affable, not puttin’ on airs? Good for a laugh, great to have at a party, a friend to everyone?
Or is it — as the high-brow uptown, austere elitist , uptight classist, city mouse side would have it — a noble grape? Serious, important, elusive, complex? Not for everyone?
The debate was, in all honesty, surprisingly intense; each side battling for the soul of the grape.
To which I say, Thelonious Monk!
Why? Because you can be deadly serious about creating that which is, at heart, fun.
There is, in jazz, no musician, no composer, no performer, more mysterious, elusive, intense, and noble than Thelonious Monk. Nor are there melodies more playful, more delightful, more perfect.
Monk was deadly serious about creating that which is, at heart, fun. His songs swing, they bounce, they prance about light as air, then collapse in the grass, laughing their little heads off.
And this is Ridge. Forgive me my bias, but to my mind, there is no producer more devoted, more meditative, more intense, more serious, about the production of zinfandel than Ridge.
And again forgive me my bias, but to my mind, there are also no zinfandels more buoyant, more lively, more playful, more magic, more fun, than the zinfandels Ridge produces.
Ridge is the Monk of Zin. Zin is the Monk of Ridge.