Over the past few months I’ve been working out at my local Club 24 with a couple of people pretty regularly. With the help of our personal trainer (drill sergeant) Jen, we’ve all been able to get our girlish figures back a little. In working our arms and legs, I personally think we work our mouths just about as much.
This week one of the ladies in my group told me she had purchased a few of the wines I had written notes on, and was impressed with some, and disappointed with others. Personally, I expected that.
When I write notes on a wine, any wine, I am careful to not give my subjective opinion. Rather, I like to focus on the facts as much as possible. The reason for this angle of approach is that if I only wrote on the wines that really turned me on, this column would die in a few short weeks.
Frankly speaking, all of the wines that I write up are “good” wines. Otherwise I wouldn’t write them up. I have a firm resolve to never say anything if I can’t say anything nice. On the other hand, some wines are just far far far superior to others.
The choice to be made is in price point more than anything else. Please don’t expect a $3.99 bottle to be just as fulfilling as a $90 bottle. I don’t care what Charles Shaw says, it just ain’t so!
At the same time, even among bottles in the same price range, there are distinct differences. I can walk down the street in Walla Walla, or Sonoma, or Rickreal and hit a series of wineries charging the same amount for their wares. For example, in Walla Walla the average bottle of Merlot is somewhere in the range of $28. Just because I spent that much doesn’t equate to me liking it.
The difference comes in the experience and education in the winemaker, the equipment used to manufacture the wine, and equally just as important, the grapes the wine was made with.
Now, for my money I just have to know what I want. Do I like a wine with jammy flavors? Do I like my wines a little leathery and aged? Do I like the acidic flavor of a touch of vinegar in the bottle? Those things are all up to my own taste preferences.
Personally, I feel that the best wines offer a full, rich cornucopia of scents when you smell them. Depth of fruit and spices come right out of the glass and into your nose as you swirl the glass. None of the scents are offensive, and the smell of fruit and spice far outweigh the smell of alcohol or vinegar.
When you taste the best wines, the flavors seduce you. You taste one fruit, then another comes forward, possibly followed by another. Spices overflow the mid and back of your tongue. The flavors linger and change as you hold the wine in your mouth.
Then, as you swallow that delicious sip of great wine, you sense yet more flavors, followed by a long silky finish. You are so in love that you can’t wait to repeat the whole process over again and again.
Honestly, 99% of the wines I drink don’t do that for me. It doesn’t mean that they’re bad. It just means that they aren’t as good as the best I’ve ever had.