As you’ve all known, I’ve been studying with Dionysus, the god of Wine, and it’s all not filled with fun. There is some studying and a lot of reading to do. And plenty of blind tastings. Which is what you should try sometime if you have an affinity of enjoying wine. Why not kick it up a notch??
I mean, Wine is one of the world’s great beverages that has been around for centuries. All across Europe there is evidence that people have been drinking wine for as long as there have been cultures clashing. And today, there is a massive market in Wine. What with technology, science and this little thing called “climate change” there are more and more people planting vines and making wine than any other time on the planet. There are specialized degrees, websites, and conferences on and about everything Wine.
Which brings me to the topic of the home consumer. Someone who isn’t sure who or what they really like. Start taking notes. Yes, notes. And no, it’s not like school, nor does it make you a nerd or a snob. There is only one way to really hone your palate and find out more about the types of wines around the world, and what makes your taste buds hum. Then you can take this notes to your local wine shop, and yes, you should have a non grocery store/liquor store you buy your wine at. Someplace with true professionals who can steer you in the direction you want to be.
I have been studying off and on for the better part of two years now, and am still learning and surprised all the time. Tasting wine is the only way for you and your palate to be in sync. Better yet, go to your local wine shop and have them “brown bag” a couple wines for you. Go home, leave the bags on, like a 1980s era Saints fan and taste the wine without knowing what it is. Again, take some notes and write down what you smell, what you taste, how it reacts in your mouth, your overall thoughts. Remember, smell is one of the most, if not the most important aspect of tasting wine. You can really get a good vibe off the smells, and start to make some conclusions. Most importantly, take some notes. When you can’t take it anymore, uncover the bottle and see if you are surprised or not.
One thing I try to avoid, and you might want to shy away from are those annoying notes at your chain wine stores and in tasting rooms. Don’t let them tell you what to taste and feel. As you get to know and trust your palate, make your own conclusions. You know if you taste “bubblegum dreams with hints of lavender laying on a bed of rustic plums” Bullshit! One thing I have learned is that every palate is different. There are some hold and true aspects, a CA Syrah will have black pepper and black fruits. Yes, that is the grape, and how winemakers let it express itself might change. But overall the broad strokes will always be there. Do you taste “blackboard chalk” maybe, maybe not. It doesn’t mean you are wrong. Some tasting rooms what to have the upper hand and explain so in depth, they take your taste buds right out of the equation.
Try Wine. Taste Wine. Enjoy Wine. Find out what you like, what you don’t like. It’s not rocket science.
Now go get many, many bottles and enjoy. With or without a spit bucket! Step out of your comfort zone. Try something new and unique. As I said there is so much new happening with wine nowadays, you can taste and try something new every day. Check out New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Or Torrontes from Argentina. Whatever you do, just enjoy yourself.
Stay tuned to my posts both here and on Twitter for info about upcoming dinners and tastings I will be doing in my newly remodeled back yard.