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Just a Few Thoughts – Tuesday May 27th, 2008

July 26, 2008

I am sorry that I have not posted lately, but I have been pondering a major issue to myself and am having a rather tough time getting my thoughts out.

What I mean is: do I have it all wrong?? Am I to drink wine in a singular activity and avoid any other stimulus or am I right to say that all the sensory inputs affect how we enjoy a wine.

I’ve discussed this at length lately with a winemaker and an associate whose wisdom I respect. I like to compare wine with music. What is your favorite musical experience???  Was it a sterile singular experience, or one where the music was shared with friends and other people? Great music to me has always included other people.  A great band in a smokey bar with a bunch of friends, maybe??? Having Carol Pope tower behind you at the Horseshoe (yes a brush with stardom) listening to Jack DeKeyser is a cool memory. Or John Lee Hooker in a club that used to be a supermarket which just boogied with the music.

As one who really was into stereo equipment, I knew people who only listened alone in the dark. I always found something rather odd about that. Were they listening to their equipment or the music?? I like old bebop jazz so I can’t have perfect recordings, but I strive for a ‘joie de vive’ that a ‘perfect’ modern recordings just don’t have.

The same is for wine. I have had the opportunity to sample some wines that are ‘above my pay grade’ lately and it confuses me. In a sterile environment these wines are technically very good, but this is reminiscent to sitting in the dark listening to music. My best wine memories involve other people. Sitting around the table with a beaker of Chardonnay from the vat was a good one. Carolyn laughing up a storm when she was over for dinner last time, or the fun of opening up one of my stored Nebbiola’s for Terry, Tom and Carolyn later that night. That wine to me was great and was to everyone there too. I bet it would be good in a test but what’s the point?? 

We all enjoyed the wine and it was made better by having people I care for around me. Tom, Carolyn and Terry (the yute had crashed by then). Why would I want to have one of Mr. Parker’s 100’s alone in the dark when I can have a local wine (ok Niagara) with friends. 

So does critical tasting matter??? I really don’t know. Wine is personal. I like whites more than reds, other people I know only drink reds. I loath the Australian lack of soul and love local wine since I know who made it. I don’t need Opus 1 (though I’d love to try some..if I didn’t have to pay for it that is) and am happy (very happy lately) to mate wine made from people who know me when I enter their store and with fine local food. Add Terry, friends, music and I really, really am happy. 

Is that so wrong or did I just fail. 

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