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Recently I noted in this column how the current Mrs Mitchell had texted my eldest daughter what she wanted from life. It resulted in opening a bottle to discuss the random, confusing, deep-meaning request from maternal authority.
It was a bottle of Sarget de Gruaud Larose 2005. Have another read or first read, here.
In the end, we found out the text was a predictive error. What did she want from Lidl was the actual question. The conversation which it sparked with my eldest, however, was a success. We chatted and enjoyed a rare quiet drink, and I noted her future was in safe hands. Hers.
Tradition in the family is to enjoy a bottle on a child’s 18th birthday, laid down in preparation and anticipation to celebrate something fine for a coming of age and savour the long-awaited joy of Dionysus. For my eldest daughter, it was Emidio Pepe 1983. I did say it would be Italian. This wine is smooth, drinking brilliantly, and an exceptional accompaniment to, well, anything really. The finest cut of meat, the rarest cheese, or excellent conversation.
I purchased some bottles for the Littondale cellars in 2005 and I am pleased with the current value, to say the least. I often suggest you try the wine I recommend in these columns, but this one I fear you will struggle to find. Get in touch if you are trying to find a bottle, there are few sellers in the UK.
The ritual makes one reflect on the modern age, the future for a generation coming into adulthood with society facing four main challenges in the author’s view.
Firstly, the emergence and strengthening of non-democratic capitalism.
Secondly, the net zero revolution.
Thirdly, western ideological decadence.
Fourthly, the misuse and misunderstanding of technology.
It is interesting to chat these through with a Generation Z. What is noted, is that when opinions are formed from a lack of thought diversity, usually from social media algorithms or the consensus establishment (Universities, BBC and Civil Service) they are anything that they claim to be. Liberal. They have a chilling Orwellian overtone. However, when discussed over a glass, wine can work its magic and context prevails. You would be surprised and learn something is my suggestion.
My generation has much to learn from the rounded 18+ Gen Z, provided you are discussing with someone with a value-based personality. Many of my friends do not share my views, many, however, do. I recommend all discuss life with Generation Z and try to see things from their perspective. Audi Alteram Partaem. This is not about politics, but life and what they see in front of them. Traditum’s upcoming stars Rowena Orr and Tom Henderson are testimony to this concept. I learn as much from them as they do from me as CEO.
Many people don’t take the time to understand and listen yet form their opinion on the young without full knowledge. That is exactly what they criticise the “young entitled” for doing themselves on multiple topics. The solution in my view, is to start them drinking earlier (responsibly), and both sides share a civilised glass…
The content of the 18th birthday chat was far-ranging, funny and invariably thought-provoking.
My conclusions to share?
The younger generation desires freedom, not groupthink and identity. Freedom comes from free-market choices. Property being priced where employment and culture reside at unaffordable prices leads to a generation feeling p!ssed off.
I have terrible dress sense.
Kids just want your time, not money, although time with me when I pay is very desirable.
Taking them on holiday is best-done skiing. I am not a cool parent in the sun. (I am not cool anywhere).
Boyfriends do respect fathers but no, they will not call us Sir.
Very few of them are friends with someone who wants a safe space and even vegan friends eat a donner kebab on the way home.
We do not make the North of England richer by getting people to the South quicker.
This wine is excellent, can we open another (No).
Finally, and my favourite…nobody they know watches or listens to the BBC; it is watched by old people who hate the content and complain about it. It is run by old people who think they are young people.
So, there you have it. Excellent wine, illuminating conversation and a lot of comedy. Try the wine and a conversation with a Gen Z but, listen. I guarantee both will not disappoint.