Sunday, September 21, 2008


I enjoy real wine. I dislike, and rail against, the huge commercial production facilities. These colossal producers are just like chain restaurants that plague suburbia all over this country. At their very best they are safe and reasonably priced. Large production wines, like meals at chains, are rarely unpalatable, usually acceptable but never particularly memorable. That's because the wines and food are generic; specifically designed to meet the acceptance of as many people as possible. That is not a terrible thing in and of itself. However, this style of business puts people who are truly engaged in production and work hard making fascinating food and truly remarkable wines in a precarious position and leads consumers to think that the mediocrity all around them is all they can expect. In fact, if one searches just a little that small mom and pop restaurant might just surprise for flavor and value, and a lesser known wine, for the same price, or even less, than what you're used to drinking, may turn out to be more intriguing and rewarding. Those are the wines that fascinate me. Any moron with $50 can buy a good bottle of wine, but it takes effort and persistence to find gems under $20 and even more so under $15. I will try to bring you those gems.
I prefer French wines as a rule and Pinot Noir is my favorite. If forced to choose, and someone else was footing the bill, I could happily drink nothing but Burgundy for the rest of my life. Reality rears it's ugly head and reminds me that I can not afford to do that, and couldn't even before the Euro became so strong relative to our dollar. I hope no one ever makes me choose because part of the fun of wine is exploring, even when encountering something you may never want to have again.
I believe that choosing and enjoying wine is all about balance. I prefer bright, more acid driven wines as a rule - they go better with a wider variety of food. But I still love the hedonism of a great Zinfandel or the brawny power of a well-made Cabernet. Sometimes a big, juicy Shiraz makes me want to sneak off and enjoy my guilty pleasure in secret much like some people do with Twinkies or Cheetos. A full blown Chardonnay is too much for me on a daily basis, but I do appreciate them and also love to have a glass from time to time.
The key in those bigger wines is balance; if they have balance they can blow you away with power, weight, silky mouthfeel and still leave you wanting more. If they do not, they leave a palate impression much like putting a pat of butter on your's fun for a moment, but then all you want to do is get it out of your mouth and wash it away with something else.
My pledge is to make this blog balanced as well. This will not be a personal hit parade and nothing else. Geek wines, crowd pleasers and wines in between will all be featured.

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