Scholars and popular opinion(now there’s a combination) would have us believe that the principal religion of France is Catholicism. The scholars citing numerous and detailed statistics. The number of Churches. Priests. History. Religious Holidays. Not to mention the fact that every day on the French Calendar celebrates a different Saint. Popular opinion, as always, sagely replying: “Duh……what he said.”
While it is not my intention to burst any scholarly/pop opinion bubbles , both of these groups have(unintentionally, of course) “mis-spoken” themselves.
My not unsubstantial travels in the land of fashion and foie gras have revealed another Religion. More widespread. More well entrenched. More charismatic. With sensual rituals. But, happily, without dogma. And, most significantly, one that does not demand faith, belief, or donations.
The responsibilities of this religion were described by that well known slave owner, Thomas Jefferson who opined : “The first duty of(this religion) is to be….(hint: three letter word starting with “r” ending with “d.”)
More currently, this Major religion is discussed/proclaimed upon daily by it’s modern day Saints: Parker. Johnson. Robinson. Vaynerchuk. Translating the nuances of it’s gospel to the common folk. (Anyone without a black Amex card.)
And unlike Catholicism, This Religion comes in three – count ’em three flavors! Red, White and Rosé. Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen, Friends and neighbours, Boys and Girls You got it! The Major Religion of France is WINE! In all three colors.(and then some) From all regions and departements. From Grand “Domaines”, Cave Co-Operatives and Grandpa Pierre’s backyard.
Wine is France’s “raison d’etre.” You could take away the gastronomic cuisine – the cheese – the six weeks vacation – the free medical care – the earliest retirement age in Europe. And the French would still want to live. If only Wine remained.
For a nation(justly) renowned for it’s wine, one that, clearly, eats, sleeps, and, bien sur, drinks wine, you may be amazed to discover there is a physical condition associated with enjoying wine that is not recognized, let alone named, in the French Wine vocabulary.
I’m referring to that blissful state after “sober”, but before “drunk”, that we in the excited states label: “toasted.” (And it’s cousins – “tipsy”, “got a buzz on” and “feeling no pain.”)
Happily, I had the ocassion recently to pour this wine “bon mot” into the glass of one of my French pals. We were celebrating his birthday with several(more than fine)vintages. He was obviously very relaxed and happy.
But(and here’s the point) not glassy eyed, drooling, and/or slurring his words. When I asked him how he was feeling, Luc(clearly for the first time in his life) was without words.
I ended several long seconds of his silent searching by offering : “Toasted?” A soft , grateful smile ensued. “Oui….toasted.” “Toasted” Luc repeated. Savouring the word like a kid fawning over a new Christmas toy.
The moral of this rant, dear reader, is not that occasionally Americans can teach the French something about wine, but that people are toasted wherever you go.
Don’t you agree?
THROW ME A BONE HERE, PEOPLE!
What are ya thinkin’?