Monday, January 22, 2018

Rant: Approaching Wine Like A Child

Have you lost your sense of vinous wonder?

After years of wine drinking, some people's palates become jaded and little excites them anymore. They also don't seek out different wines, electing to drink the same old wines all the time. Still other people become arrogant and pretentious, often primarily chasing after trophy wines, engaging in one-upmanship with their friends. They seek out high-end Bordeaux and Burgundy, California Cabernet and Italian Barolo, and similar such wines. Dining out with their friends becomes a competition, with each person seeking to select the best (and usually a pricey) wine on the list. All of these people see nothing wrong with their behavior, failing to realize they may have lost their sense of vinous wonder.

There are other people, with the same amount of wine drinking experience, who haven't become jaded or pretentious, who still marvel at wines that aren't trophies, wines which may be inexpensive and more unusual. They get excited about rare grapes, unique wine-making styles, and less common wine regions. These individuals still appreciate and understand the allure of trophy wines, the expensive classics, but they don't make them their raison d'être. They find pleasure and wonder in a wide range of wines, of all price points, of all types, from all regions.

It is usually easy to differentiate those who are jaded or pretentious from those who still possess that sense of wonder. Watch as they present a new wine, priced under $20, that excites them and you'll see a fire in their eyes and their words will be indicative of their delight. They will be eager to share that wine, to spread their thrill with their friends. The jaded person might share a similar wine, finding it of interest, but it's obvious they lack a true passion for the wine. It is offered more as intellectual experience, and it might even be compared to higher-end wines, noting its failings compared to those classics. And the pretentious ones might even show disdain for such an inexpensive wine.

We should approach wine as a child approaches life, with an eager curiosity. Like children, we should  embrace wonder and be open to new experiences.

I want to spend time with those who still possess their sense of vinous wonder. I want to share wine with those people, to marvel together at the unique, inexpensive wines we find. We can still drink and enjoy high-end, classic wines too but we won't turn up our noses at other wines. We will cherish the diversity of wine, being adventurous and exploring all that exists.

Try to examine your own approach to wine with a critical eye, to determine whether you still possess that wonder or not. If you do, then I strongly advise you to be wary of becoming jaded or pretentious.  If you do not, then I highly recommend you make changes to your vinous life. It's never too late to change. If you refuse to change, then you'll lose out on so much.

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