Sunday, January 26, 2020



Roger Scruton (1944-2020), I Drink Therefore I Am: A Philosopher's Guide to Wine (2009; rpt. London: Continuum, 2010), pp. 176-178:
Plato. There is a dialogue of Plato to suit every wine. A fine claret will take you at a leisurely pace through The Republic, while with the Phaedrus a light rosé would be more appropriate, and only a bone-dry Manzanilla would do justice to the Philebus. The Laws would benefit from a robust Burgundy, giving courage and permission to the inevitable desire to skip. When it comes to the sublime Symposium, by contrast, something light and semi-sweet will help you to capture some of the gaiety of the company, and to drink to each of the participants as they rise to speak.


Aristotle. Readers of the Metaphysics will understand when I say that plain water is the only conceivable accompaniment. To swallow the driest book ever written you need plenty of liquid, and an attitude of Spartan detachment as you fight down the words. Before moving on to the Prior Analytics a ginger biscuit might be suitable. Only with the Nicomachean Ethics do things lighten up a bit, and here, because the argument is absolutely vital to the concept of virtuous drinking as I have been advancing it, I would recommend a celebratory glass or two. My best experience of the Ethics came, in fact, with a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc from the Beringer Estate in California — one of those original Californian wineries that have been a by-word for craftsmanship both before and after Prohibition.

Cicero. Not exactly a philosopher, though a jolly good bloke, who had much to say about the life of virtue, and whose creative ability to make himself hated ought to serve as an example to us all. His careful sentences, with their burden of dignified thought, are prime claret material, and should be approached after dinner, with a glass or two of Pauillac, where the poet Ausonius once had a villa. The great Ch. Lynch-Bages 1959 could not be better used, by anyone fortunate enough to have a bottle remaining. But while on the subject of Ausonius, how about the equally great 1959 from Ch. Ausone?

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