While in conversation with a wine supplier, it struck me that maybe we (I?) think too much about wine and probably don’t enjoy it quite enough. Is wine a drink for the heart or for the mind? Or both?
Picture the conversation. “Are you around tomorrow Paul? I have some (usually very good and expensive) wines I’d like you to try” says the wine supplier. “I’m not actually, but my colleague is. She’s very good at spotting commercial and saleable wines. I like the intellectual wines, she likes the commercial wines” I said. It then struck me – why aren’t the two things the same!?
I’d like to think I’m not a wine snob – a constant refrain at my tasting events is “if you like a wine, it’s a good wine – no matter what it is”. And I believe that. It doesn’t have to be expensive or intellectual to be great.
Think about the Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato 2009 (a great seller for us). This could not be described as a fine wine – simple, pink, slightly fizzy and sweet. Sound’s like a 1970’s Mateus Rosé style nightmare. But it isn’t – it’s fantastic! Perfect for summer days (like we’re having at the moment) and a stunning complement to the strawberries that seem to be ripening slowly in the garden. But if you think about it, well then it loses some of its considerable charms. So why bother, just enjoy.
But what about intellectual wine? We’ll is this not just a synonym for “not very nice or drinkable”? Perhaps.
As an example, I spent many years simply not getting Italian wine. I even spent nine months in Italy drinking it almost every day and still not quite understanding what all the fuss was about. And then a chance meeting with a bottle of Gaja Barbaresco and some rather impressive wild boar put the whole thing into context and suddenly it all made sense. Since then, I’ve been a complete convert. I understand it. But great Italian wine needs its context, to be shown some respect and we should do it some justice by giving its character a little bit of thought. But the whole thing stirs the mind and the heart and that’s what wine is all about.
So, enjoy your wine I say. Think about it if it deserves it. Don’t over analyse and the first reaction is usually the best indication – “I like it” is the best recommendation you can get….