Wednesday, July 27, 2011
You Too Can Become A Wine Slob
When people ask me about my wine experience I proudly tell them that I’ve now progressed into a wine slob. Most people just chuckle uncomfortably when I say that. They don’t quite know where I’m headed with my off-handed statement. Some even think I’m just being crude or flip. But, frankly, I do think that I’ve become a wine slob, and I’m damn proud of it.
Let me explain. Being a wine slob is a good thing. It doesn’t mean that I’m sitting on the side of the railroad tracks slurping on a bottle of Night Train. What it does mean is that I’ve consumed enough wine, in enough different environments, and with enough different people, that I’ve grown comfortable with my palate. That, and I don’t make judgments about people who don’t drink what I drink.
My twins turned 21 this week, and with their new age gained the ability to buy and consume alcohol freely. They both came back to the house the other night with a 6 pack of beverage in their hands. Before they even took it out of the bag I knew what they had bought. It was a Smirnoff lemonade.
How did I know that they would buy this? Because, as younger drinkers our palates tend to start with something soft and sweet. This is not a bad thing. It just is what it is. I remember being a young adult drinking my favorite wine, which was Johannesburg Riesling. I hated anything red at the time. You couldn’t force me to drink even a fruity Merlot.
My oldest son has bridged into the next generation with his palate. He likes red wine and hard liquors. His girlfriend’s dad is a scotch drinker, and they spend time together drinking well aged rye on the front porch of their house.
The other day this son ventured out to Fidelitas with some of his work buddies. His favorite wine was the Champoux Merlot and no one could convince him that there was anything else drinkable in the tasting room.
I was like this for many years. Once I had reached the maturity with my palate that reds were ok, I wouldn’t drink anything else. I even came up with excuses as to why whites made me nauseous. I can’t tell you the number of dinner guests that I have at my house any given year that won’t drink a white wine. I figure that’s just more for me.
At some time everyone grows to a level of comfort with their palate that all wine has its positives and negatives. I specifically remember the day that I became a wine slob. It was when Jean Francois Pallet from the Pepperbridge – Amavi fame insisted that I drink his Semillon and his Rose before I would be allowed to taste his Cabernet Sauvignon.
As I sat at this café in Walla Walla eating lunch and listening to his stories I realized that I was drinking some of the finest wines I’d ever had. And…they weren’t red!
Since that day I have learned not to turn down a glass or taste of wine when it is offered to me. As I look at other very talented wine writers, makers, and servers around me I realize that they do the same. We’ve grown up. Our palates have grown up. And, we’ll never be able to go back to insisting that only one variety or flavor is the only one to drink.
Here is to wishing wine snobbishness on you!