Archive for September, 2007
Origianlly published: September, 05 2007
While at a local wine merchant, I recently overheard an exasperated customer impatiently ask a wine steward “Which one is the best?” while the latter was telling him about the virtues and characters of several pinot noirs on the shelf.
I immediately tensed up and developed that twitch in my right eye, resisting the urge to intercede. The steward was polite and helpful, but the customer was just lost. I recognize that some people just don’t have the time and desire to make wine a study. I also acknowledge that ‘the best’ types of ratings are useful in many walks of life: car safety, on-time departure for airlines, cleanliness in restaurants and hotels or vehicle performance reliability.
Not everything should be a contest, though. If you make wine a contest, then it becomes a pointless pursuit and looses any soul or character. It becomes an accessory, an ornament, a trophy girlfriend or a snazzy piece of ‘bling’. You would not want someone telling you who is the best life partner for you, the best position to sleep in, the best way to be kissed or what flavor ice cream tastes best to you. However, most major wine publications “score” wines based on tater’s preference or subjective impressions of “quality”. This still boils down to the same thing: personal opinion. There are no standards of quality in such a system. Yet many wine lovers, follow such ratings.
Admittedly, wine knowledge is not second nature to most people and it may even seem daunting. But it is not an insurmountable task. Certainly, the fundamentals needed to help one navigate the wine list at a restaurant or the shelves of a wine store are far less complicated that what I had to learn in medical school and I’m no genius, either.
At the core of all this is my heart-felt belief that we tend to appreciate more the things we have worked for and choices we make and their consequences are much more meaningful when we give the issue some thought. If you apply some rudimentary wine knowledge to the wine selection you are about to make, you will learn a lot. Even if the wine is not what you expected. If the wine meets or surpasses your preconceptions, you will have the satisfaction of having made a good decision. In either scenario, you will no doubt pay more attention to what you are drinking. You might think more about what you are smelling and tasting. Questions about the wine, grape or region may come to mind and you might even be spurred to do some additional web browsing.
I sincerely hope that one of the first resources you will turn to will be redwinebuzz.com. This site was founded not only to tell people about central coast wines but to use those wines as springboards for learning about aspects relevant to the wine at hand. Soon we will open a discussion forum where our readers and subscribers will be able to share their experiences. redwinebuzz.com will serve as community of wine education. We want to give you the tools so that you will not need someone else to tell you what “the best” is. I will never tell you what “the best” is, but I will tell you about my experience of the wine (and sneak in some other information that might be helpful). In the process, I hope you will gain an understanding of what are the standards of quality in wine and that these are separate and distinct from any notions of “the best”. redwinebuzz.com will provide the gentle guiding hand and the resources to help you learn. The process will broaden and educate your palate. this will give you and us a common language. When I describe a wine, you will be able to get a better, objective idea of the wine. Based on what you know are your preferences, you will decide if you want to buy the wine or not.
Armed with some basic knowledge of wine and yourself, you will be able to know what “the best” is … for you.