leave your inhibitions at the door
It’s been about four months since I’ve actually written a post about wine. And for a blog named “Food and WINE Hedonist,” that’s pretty lame. So I’ve decided to change that and start actually writing about wine – grapes, regions, winemaking, tastings, reviews. YOU NAME IT!!! I’m going to reassert my wine prowess!
Actually, no, I’m not going to make a concerted effort to write more about wine. I just can’t.
This topic came up in the comments section to The Drunken Cyclist’s post on wineblogging. While I do love wine, writing about it is a very personal experience. And that’s the case with everyone else who’s ever given an opinion about wine – whether you’re Robert Parker or the guy in the gutter drinking $2 bottles of skullpopper. It’s not like watching a movie, judging a footrace, or listening to a song – where just about everyone is going to see or hear the same exact thing. How we perceive a wine’s bouquet, tannins, aciditiy, etc. is completely dependent on your taste buds and your smell receptor thingies all in your head. Then add in other factors like what you ate with it, expectations based on the producer’s reputation, how much you paid, and whether some jerkweed cut you off on the freeway. All of these things have a huge impact on how you rate a wine. And let’s not forget that whoever is describing the wine is having that wine at that moment. Readers can’t taste it themselves and even bottles from the same batch can be subject to storage conditions.
There are no rights or wrongs when it comes to wine descriptors. The same bottle of merlot can have aromas of cedar box to one person and chocolate to another. Back when I took classes at the International Sommelier Guild, the instructor said it was like the Jedi mind trick. He would say he smelled eucalyptus and old man’s underwear in a specific Shiraz and, lo and behold, everyone in the class suddenly got the same aromas.
So here’s the rub – I have no problem writing about what I perceived in a wine. I can do that all day. But I often wonder if it really matters to you readers. You can’t smell that hint of barnyard I picked up on a Burgundy and do you even care? This blog is more for entertainment than information. Writing a wine review that is entertaining, interesting, and with broad appeal is very difficult to do for a writing hack like me. At least for now. I’ll still keep trying and, at some point, maybe I’ll find my “wine voice.”
But the other reason I haven’t written about wine is that I’ve actually been enjoying beer more than wine lately. There’s been an explosion in craft beers across the country with some very interesting concoctions and collaborations. Actually, the same can be said about bourbon, too. It’s an exciting time to be a drinker here in America, so wine’s taken a back seat for a while.
But just to prove I do actually, in fact, drink wine, I’ve recently become a member of The Wine Century Club.
This is a club that ‘s main goal is to encourage people to try different kinds of wines besides the usual cabs, chards, or chiantis. Anyone can be a member of the club as long as they’ve tried at least 100 different grape varieties (hence the “Century” in the name). It’s kinda fun to go through and it’s free to join. All you have to do is fill out their form and they’ll send you a certificate just like this…
Ok, they probably won’t send one exactly like this. Look closer…
That says “Doppel Member”. I guess I didn’t realize this when I filled out the application, but I’ve had over 200 different varietals of wine. According to the cover letter, there are about 1,300 wine century members worldwide and just 58 of them are Doppel Members.
See? I told you I drink wine.
So what do you think? If you’re a casual wine drinker, does it matter to you what I perceived in a wine? Or are you just looking for a thumbs-up/thumbs-down? And if you’re a wine blogger, am I way off base?