Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Soggy Back Syndrome

Just because I think it warrants explanation: this is the most random image ever. I wanted to put up a picture of Hall & Oates "H2O"- where the dynamic duo are somewhat creepily staring each other down, drenched in sweat. However, perhaps not surprisingly, I've already used that picture. So I was thinking about Peter Gabriel's "Steam", which seemed kind of sweaty. But it's on the album "Us", pictured above. No, I don't really follow either. Oh well, what's done is done.

Don't ask me for a source on this one, but I once heard someone exclaim that A/C (that's "air conditioning", San Franciscans) was the greatest innovation to hit the South, because it allowed industry to flourish. I suppose this proclamation was based on the notion that manufacturing is best done in a conditioned space; machinery and products of industrialization probably hold up better in an atmosphere absent of extreme heat and humidity ("humidity" being moisture in the air, Los Angelenos).

I further defend this argument with the fact that an oppressive heat index wears one out. I don't know what people did before air conditioning. But I do know they were the toughest motherflippers alive, if I may use such coarse language. Incidentally, I have a bad fan motor in my vehicle, so the A/C works at long as I'm moving. "Moving", however, is at a bit of a premium in Atlanta rush hour (which is a BS term anyway; I've never seen it last only an hour). Tack on a constant pressure-cooker of 95˚+ days (with 90%+ humidity), and one suffers an embarrassing condition known as "soggy back syndrome".

No longer relegated to Sweatin' to the Oldies enthusiasts, feral children, and Robin Williams, SBS (soggy back syndrome) can strike anyone who's posterior has been snuggled closely to warm automotive upholstery, while wearing two shirts (an undershirt and a button-down...sorry, it's not 1978 and my day job doesn't involve a commute to Bee Gees practice), all in a vehicle with less-than-adequate air circulation and humidity management. What results is an embarrassing moistness on the back of the shirt, sure to discourage appreciative pats-on-the-back from top management and other patronizing business personnel (not that I'm getting any pats-on-the-back for good performance anyway...a couple on the rear, but that's an HR issue that I can't discuss at this juncture).

So, you must be asking, "what in the Sam Hill does this have to do with wine?!" To which I have to ask, "are you an old prospector, using mid-19th century euphemisms like 'Sam Hill'?"

Here's what it has to do with wine: if you're caught in a tussle with a soggy back; if you've just gotten home from a grueling commute featuring your crappy broken auto A/C, then here are some dry wines you should keep in the chill chest to bring you back to dry times. Furthermore, they're all pretty cheap, so you can save your shekels to fix that damn motor:

Vinho Verde: Portuguese for "green wine", the name is actually indicative of the "youthful freshness" (as wikipedia puts it) of the wine, rather than the color. Made from a possible slew of local grapes (the most recognizable suspect being the Alvarinho grape, otherwise known as "Albariño" in nearby Spain), these wines not only feature low alcohol and high acidity, but often a little bit of fizz, making them even more refreshing. Although often assumed to be all whites, there are also some red vinho verdes, but they will not help your back sweat like a chilled white VV.

Cava: The Spanish take on Champagne. And bubbles always refresh. Usually made from the local grape trio of Macabeo, Parellada, and Xarel-lo (though some Chardonnay might be snuck in these days), these wines are all produced in the método tradicional (traditional method, or Champagne method), meaning the secondary fermentation takes place in the bottle. This fermentation and aging on the yeast create more interesting flavors and aromas, smaller, finer bubbles, and a dry, comfortable feeling between the shoulders.

Assyrtiko: What I'm convinced will be the next big thing in white wine, Greece's (Santorini's, to be more specific) Assyrtiko grape produces some briny, minerally, refreshing whites (if "briny" and "minerally" sound refreshing to you...and I don't even think if "minerally" is a word). I've started to see more of these bottles around town, as Greece is coming out of some self-inflicted doldrums and getting into producing more quality wine. Just stay away from anything that says "Retsina", unless drinking Pine Sol is your fancy.

Of course, if none of these scratch you where you itch, or dry you where you sweat (or you can't bear the thought of drinking wine as a refreshment, though I encourage you to get over that), then there's always Ice Cold Beer. With a name like that, it's gotta do the trick. Whatever you choose, I hope that you now feel more equipped to battle SBS. No one needs to suffer.

If you'd like to join the fight to stop Soggy Back Syndrome, please send Joe Herrig the proper auto parts necessary to fix his A/C. He's pretty handy, and clearly too cheap to pay the auto mechanic.

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