Posts Tagged ‘There’

We can only wish ...

We can only wish …

 

Let me be clear. I don’t make wine. I have never made wine. Everything I may know about making wine comes first from books and secondly from correlating what winemakers say about making wine with how their wines taste.

Over the years, I have accumulated a lot of “learning”, and I can now say with full conviction that there is no one way to make wine.

I have heard all the theories, listened as winemakers proclaimed everything from biodynamics to barrel aging, from high acid to high approachability as the only answers, the “right” answers.

I have had to hold my tongue with some difficulty as winemaker after winemaker disparaged their peers whose wines I have praised in print. “Added a little water”? “Added acid”? “Used more than 25% new oak”? All verboten.
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wine-flight

Can you spot the difference?

 

Can you really taste the difference between a $15 wine and a $150 wine? Wine enjoyment is such an objective experience and taste is not exactly an exact science.  During a recent trip to Paso Robles I came face-to-face with my own shortcomings and the ugly truth of wine: much of what we taste is in our heads and not in the wine. I was traveling with a lovely group of wine journalists—each of us boasting some expertise in wine, some with fancy degrees behind our names and official titles. During a tasting at Still Waters Vineyards the proprietor poured two whites (the bottles were covered in brown bags) and asked us to try and discern the varietals. We all eagerly set to the task, using our infinite powers of wine-soaked observation to peg the wines being poured.

Everyone loves a challenge. We swirled, we sniffed, we wrinkled our brows in contemplation.  Some of us nodding with assurance. I took notes, finding the first white to be more floral and elegant than the second. Drawing on my years and years (there have been too many) of tasting, studying and observation, I swiftly concluded that the first wine was an unoaked Chardonnay and the second was a Sauvignon Blanc, easy peasy. Much to my mortification I was dead wrong, as was everyone else in the room. The proprietor chuckled and informed his room of bright-eyed ambitious wine journalists that the wines were actually the same wine; one was just warmer than the other. He wasn’t intentionally shaming us (not one person got it right); he was pointedly demonstrating the power of just one element in the wine tasting experience: temperature.
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