Arnold’s Analogy


While we wait for Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine: How Creativity Works (Canongate Books 2012) to be discounted by Abebooks.com, the bibliophile’s version of Johan Wegner’s GetWine vinous remainderer, some teasing extracts appeared in The Guardian last week.  In particular, I was seized by the analogy of how the left and right brain reproduces a house.

left brain right brain 283x300 Arnold’s Analogy

SA wine needs more right-brain tasters

“A study conducted in the 1940s asked people with various kinds of brain damage to copy a picture of a house.  Patients reliant on the left hemisphere because the right hemisphere had been incapacitated depicted a house that was clearly nonsensical: front doors floated in space; roofs were upside down.  However, they carefully sketched its specifics and devoted lots of effort to capturing the shape of the bricks in the chimney or the wrinkles in the window curtains.  In contrast, patients who were forced to rely on the right hemisphere tended to focus on the overall shape of the structure.  Their pictures lacked details.”

Front doors floating in space, upside down roofs.  It’s Bob the Builder writing tasting notes for Platter, all whiffs of capsicum and cassia and semidetached, almost floating (but relentlessly linear) acidity.  A bottle of Sean Blem’s masterful Pallium single vineyard Stellenbosch Shiraz 2006 was nailed at lunch yesterday by former Cape Grace sommelier Arnold Vorster.  He compared it to a carpet composed of threads of many different flavours woven together.  The weft and the weave and the golden thread.  Real right brain stuff and so much more helpful than a Platter deconstruction into pompous fruits and vegetables you’ve never tasted, nor indeed have they.

Arnold’s analogy was vouchsafed him by Sean at the Cape Grace many years before the Anni Dewani disaster and has remained fresh in his mind ever since.  Indeed, carpets are how he interprets wine to this day and in his day job at Graham Beck, he tastes more than most.  So panzi those left brain Platterites and magic carpets for all right-thinking, right-brain tasters.  As a witty SMSer pointed out, if Platter lefties had to taste “blind” they’d slip on their magic carpets.  LOL!