Faith, hope and clarity



In his upbeat assessment of everything, “It’s Better Than it Looks,” author Gregg Easterbrook charts the four basic types of knowing.

One type of knowing is certainty: The sun is 93 million miles from Earth. Another is faith: The Patriots will win the Super Bowl in 2019. A third is opinion: “Gone with the Wind” is the best movie ever made. Finally, ignoring evidence and the straight-face test, there’s what we want to believe: “That there Trump fella will make America great again.”

Rotarians have the Four Way Test of the things they think, say or do. Might wine verdicts not be subjected to the four-way test of Certainty, Faith, Opinion and Want? Let’s give ’er a try.

As this column goes the way of the dodo, which is pretty much the way it came in, we wish to leave you with our nominees for best cheap red and best cheap white. Herewith, in the hot seat, is 90-plus sauvignon blanc from New Zealand. It’s the one to have if you’re having more than one this summer. And why wouldn’t you?

Applying the wine lover’s Four Way Test to 90-plus is tricky. Take “certainty.” Much as we are certain that 90-plus sauvignon blanc will refresh and delight, one must allow for that chaotic element of subjectivity. One man’s meat is another man’s … you know. All we can say for certain is that if you don’t like this 90-plus, you’re wrong.

OK, on to faith. This is easy. St. Paul (Hebrews 11:1) says “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” So, though we have not opened this particular bottle of 90-plus, we have opened hundreds of others in the past. All were excellent, all were around $10 and our faith was affirmed with each swig.

Next: opinion. Well … duh. What is a wine review but an opinion? Ideally, informed opinion. And as far as being informed on the topic of cheap whites, we yield to no man, having marinated in plonk, Franzia, shart-donnay, wine flu, triple whammy, crystal white, walla walla and Two Buck Chuck since sophomore year at Chico State when Lyndon Johnson was president.

Which leaves what we want to believe. We want to believe that we can acquire a bottle of white wine for $10 or thereabouts that one can serve unapologetically to company. We have, over time, wanted to believe that about a vanilla accented pinot grigio that stunk (literally), a “café chardonnay” that brought to mind Mountain Dew and a “golden chablis” that caused the gums to recede. All were under $10.

But 90-plus is the real deal. Not only is it “the substance of things hoped for,” but it has the convenient screw top. And that’s for certain.

Stephen Fay

Stephen Fay

Managing Editor at The Ellsworth American
Stephen Fay, managing editor of The Ellsworth American since 1996, is a third-generation Californian. Starting out as a news reporter in 1974, he has been an editor since 1976, working in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Vermont before settling in Ellsworth with his wife and two daughters. [email protected]