Monday, August 29, 2011

Rant: After Labor Day, Drink Wine

Labor Day weekend nears, which will also herald the start of wine tasting season. From September to December, many wine stores will host large wine tasting events, where you can taste 25, 50 or even 100 different wines. Most of these events will be free, providing you the perfect opportunity to experience many wines which you may not have tasted before. As I have said often before, the best way to learn about wine is to taste it.

Now, when you attend these wine tastings, you might be tempted to taste only those wines which seem similar to those you already know and love. For example, maybe you love Pinot Noir, so you then only taste Pinot Noirs at the events. Don't do that! Expand your palate and broaden your horizons by tasting different wines, ones you know nothing about. If it is new to you, take a chance on tasting it. These are free tastes so you lose nothing by giving them a try, and you might just find a new favorite. How do you know whether you like Albarino or not until you taste a few of them?

You should even taste wines that you think you dislike, because you never know what a different region or producer might bring to the table. I had a general dislike for Cabernet Franc, because the ones I had tasted presented a green/vegetal taste which turned me off. Despite my feelings, I continued to try different Cabernet Francs, to determine if others might appeal to me. In the end, after additional tastings, I have found a number of Cabernet Franc wines which I have enjoyed, as they have lacked that intense green/vegetal taste. They have been more fruit driven and I have found them appealing, even purchasing some for my cellar. But if I had stopped tasting them because I had disliked some, then I would never have realized what I was missing.

If you want to learn more about wine, then now is the perfect opportunity to do so.  Attend some of these major wine tasting events and experience the great diversity of wines and grapes from all over the world. How can you turn down all that free wine?  Even the weather won't be an issue as the tastings are often held inside, so neither heat, rain, or even snow may be an impediment. And if you find something you like, take notes so that you can find that wine again. At the very least, take a photo of the label. Most of us have phones now that can take good pictures so there is no need to fumble for a pen and paper. Click a photo and you can easily remember the wines that impressed you.

You'll thank me later for helping you expand your palate.

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