Sunday, 19 February 2017

Polly Wants Prosecco! How Parrot-like Speak Can Prevent you from Enjoying Wine your Way

I remember one story about a parrot that was rescued from a very dodgy bar by a person close to me. She told me that, every now and then, the bird would yell "Get him out, he's drunk!" and burst into what sounded like a maniac's laughter.

I think it's fascinating when a parrot learns human words and is able to repeat them even without really understanding what they mean. It's not so cool or impressive when a person is the one doing this. And yet people yelp slogans, sayings and other common places on a daily basis about any topic that touches our lives. Wine is not an exception.

True, you need to learn your one o' ones before you can question them, but in a world that changes so quickly, being able to recite the 10 Beaujolais Crus like a trained tropical bird is not as important as trying to understand what makes them special, even if you keep forgetting Régnié and no matter how many mnemonic techniques you come up with to memorise it, it just doesn't stay... You know what, Régnié, it's not me it's you (this may or may not be vaguely based in a real story of studying frustration).

Anyway, I'm all up for trying to memorise the universe, but when it comes to parrot-like behaviour and wine, there are some pearls of wisdom that I find particularly dated and borderline prejudiced. I'm not exempt of them and I have eaten my slice of humble pie, like the time I refused to touch kindly offered Sherry because I'm not really a Sherry person, thanks. Words of a younger and dumber me (let's not go into the fact that this happened barely a few months ago). But my point is that after talking to the right people and trying the right Sherry, I completely came around and yes, I won't be chilling a full bottle of Amontillado to sip while watching House of Cards anytime soon, but I'll be happy to take a couple of glasses with Game of Thrones on (yes, the show I watch influences the wine I like to drink on the sofa but that's another story).

This takes me to a news story about an inexpensive sparkling wine called ProGrigio launched this week in Britain. The name, portmanteau of Prosecco and Pinot Grigio is a marketer's dream, and the tagline If you like Prosecco, you'll love ProGrigio, is composed of the stuff that makes candidates win elections.

It kind of reminds me to that episode of The Simpsons in which Homer accidentally hybridises tomatoes and tobacco into a new vegetable also named with a very catchy word: ToMacco.

As usual, Lisa was the only one in the family who wasn't too fond of ToMacco. Image via simpsonsworld
It tasted weird, and the plants were fertilised with "chemicals" to say the least (including Plutonium from Springfield's nuclear plant) but everyone wanted more of it. In the words of Bart, "it's smooth and mild — and refreshingly addictive." I wonder if Bart's tasting notes on ToMacco could be extrapolated to this innovation.

But my point is, that even while it's tempting to assume it's going to be of a certain quality, this is just the type of situation in which parrot-like behaviour becomes evident. I will assume it's only a matter of time until this product goes global (it already went viral) and Ireland will probably see some sort of me too on the shelves. I actually look forward to try it, not because I think it's going to blow my mind or it's going to be awful, but because after all this fuss, I just want to decide for myself.

Anyway, all of this babble was actually an excuse for me to draw animals talking about wine. So, here's a little comic with real phrases we all have heard plenty of times, so many times in fact that they've become parrot-speak.

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