Jacques Derrida’s 1967 book Of Grammatology is considered by many to be an early manifesto of deconstruction (in the literary, critical sense of the word).
By the 1980s, his notion of différance would become a battle cry for a generation of critical theorists.
For them deconstruction didn’t mean taking a work of literature apart and breaking it down into its essential components (a popular but erroneous definition of the term). Instead, it meant looking at the ever widening gap between the author’s intention and the reader’s perception.
The concept (described hastily and imcompletely here, it’s important to note) came to mind when I tasted my friend Dan Petroski’s Massican 2018 Hyde.
Where, what, and how is the différance between the winemaker’s intent and the drinker’s sensation? I wondered. How do time, place, and movement impact our enjoyment of a given wine?
Dan graciously and generously sent me a flight of his new releases to taste at home and Tracie and I opened two of them the other night.
The 2018 Hyde, a 100 percent single-vineyard Chardonnay sourced from vines that are more than a quarter of a century old, was laser-focused in its brilliant mouth-watering white and stone and tropical fruit flavors. But its racy acidity and intense minerality made me think that it still hasn’t come into full focus yet. Was this the winemaker’s intent? Or was it just my perception? There’s no doubt in my mind that this wine will age gorgeously (for the price, it’s an extreme bargain for collectors). I loved this complex and compelling bottling but it felt like it’s going to need some time in the cellar.
The 2018 Annia, the other wine we opened that night, is Dan’s flagship wine, a classic Friulian-style blend made from California fruit. Historically, it’s the label that put Massican on the map (I can still remember the first time I tasted it a decade ago). Here the balance was impeccable: white flowers and stone fruit (ripe peach and ) danced against the moreish texture. This wine is drinking so beautifully right now, another immense value for white wine lovers like me and Tracie.
Both wines were great. But we definitely enjoyed the Annia more than the Hyde the other night, even though the Hyde presumably lies higher in the Massican hierarchy.
Once Tra and I taste the other two wines, Dan and I will trade emails and share notes, I’m sure.
But in the meantime, I’m going to enjoy the différance.
Dan, thanks again for sharing these wonderful wines with us!