Monday, October 5, 2009

Is A Wine You Can’t Purchase Really Any Good?

As a part of the wine snob media I get plenty of tweets and emails from other wine writers boasting about some Chateau D’ Bigstuff somewhere in the world that just got a 99 rating. Immediately, I’m drawn in. My mind races and my palms get sweaty. All I can think about is “how do I get my hands on that wine?”. Well, the answer is good luck!

The truth is that most of the wines you read about in national and international wine reviews have already been long consumed by the vintner’s regular customers. If there are a few bottles available in this region it is because somebody accidentally purchased too much and they’ve been holding it in some warehouse hoping a big score would pop before they had to dump it down a drain.

The second thing about reading these damnable wine scores is that usually the wine that is being reported on is a vintage or two behind. If you do find a bottle of these famous wines you are likely to find vintages 1 to 3 years younger than the big scoring one. When you do get it home you find out that the wine you purchased isn’t from the same vineyard or sometimes even made by the same winemaker.

This brings me to my big philosophical pondering of the week. Is a wine you can’t purchase really any good? My answer is “no”…it is actually not good at all. The only wine that is really any good is the wine that you can reach out and actually drink. The one that meets your personal flavor profile. The one that you can pick up at a local shop, take home, sip, and enjoy with friends or dinner.

People constantly ask me what my favorite wine is. I always ponder the question and then answer “The one that I’m drinking tonight”. The truth is, I don’t trust scores. I don’t trust the media. And, I don’t trust other people telling me what is good or isn’t. I only trust the feel of the cork in my hands and what is being poured into my glass. If it smells and looks good I drink it. If it doesn’t I don’t. I’m not a wine snob. I’m just a simple guy who doesn’t like being told what I should like.

There is plenty of good wine from this region and around the world that is accessible. Several wineries within 100 miles of Pendleton proudly boast regular scores in the 90s in national magazines. Yes, it would be nice to enjoy a beautiful Bordeaux from the other side of the world, but honestly your chances of getting your hands on it are slim to none. Wouldn’t you rather have 5 bottles of really good wine from this region for the same price?

Now, if you want my opinion (and this is an opinion column) I suggest that you put away that fancy wine magazine. I challenge you to get up, go to the store and pick out a few bottles of wine you haven’t had before. Don’t always drink the same thing. Try new wines every day. And, whatever you do, don’t trust some magazine score to tell you what tastes good.

Have a great week, and enjoy!

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