Wine TastingPosted: July 5, 2011
There’s nothing that says “I’m a snobby Episcopalian” (or at least a debonair European) quite like a good old-fashioned wine tasting. I held a very impromptu Eucharistic wine tasting in my office last week and it went swimmingly. Actually that sounds odd and slightly irreverent so before my bishop gets wind of this, let me clarify. It wasn’t in my office per se but in the anteroom outside my office known as the Rector’s Parlour. Yes, it’s spelled “parlour” in the British style. Because we’re snobby Episcopalians.
We’re currently using a sickeningly sweet white madeira that says less “The cup of salvation” and more “I’m a wino.” So, after consulting with the Altar Guild, I decided to make a change. Why ask the Altar Guild, you ask? Because they run the church and I value my life.
After posing a question on Facebook asking clergy friends and communion wine aficionados what they use at their respective altars, I was barraged with 40 responses. People are pretty devoted and/or passionate and/or have nothing better to think about regarding the wine they serve at their churches. By far the most popular choice is port even though you rarely see anyone enjoying a fine cigar during the postc0mmunion prayer.
I actually had several criteria for the new wine. 1) It had to be a red or reddish color (hello? blood?) 2) it had to come in a large bottle since we go through a lot of it 3) it had to have a screw top since installing a Rabbit in the sacristy seemed unseemly and 4) it had to be a step above Thunderbird.
In the grand scheme of matters liturgical, eccelsiological, and theological does it really matter? Not a whit. Jesus is fully present in whatever wine is consecrated. But if this process gets people thinking about the Eucharist in new ways than it’s all been worth it. Even if people do a double-take when they walk by the Rector’s Parlour, stare at the bottles, and think he might have a slight “problem.”
In the end it looks like we’ll be going with the ever-popular ten-year-old Taylor Tawny Port. So many congregations can’t be wrong. And, until someone bequeaths an entire wine cellar to the church, it’ll just have to do.