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Friday, August 2, 2013

“Do You Like It?"

Observing and enjoying Sauvignon Blanc

There are many “rules” about wine - for me, the most important rule is this: you like it, or you don’t.

What do I mean?  Well, it’s really that simple, in a sense.  Are you going to drink something you like?  Of course.  Are you going to drink something you don’t like?  No.

And certainly your taste can change over time - mine has, and I find that things I used to gravitate towards are less appealing to me now, and things I never thought I’d like are now among the things that I love.  And there’s also the part about learning, which is quite important.  It’s important to know what we’re drinking, where it’s from, what are the grapes, etc., and what makes us like it.

When the wines speak to us via their characteristics, if we really try, we can find notes of different fruits, soil types, spices, oak, etc., and that’s great, because that helps us understand what we’re drinking and a little bit (or a lot) about it.  That might also help us determine what other wines we might like or dislike.  Granted, it’s important also to remain open minded about that, because no one wants to drink the same thing every time (at least I hope not!); we want to keep on learning and experimenting.

After sitting through a fair number of wine classes for wine professionals, I think we get kind of wrapped up in characteristics and tasting notes.  Sometimes I really turn myself loose, especially when I’m tasting alone, and I read over my notes later on and can hardly believe how many things I wrote down.

But there’s something more important than all of that - the most important thing is whether I enjoyed it or not.

“And if so, DID SHE ENJOY IT?"
See, of course I like a wine to have the traits of the grapes it’s made up of, and be indicative of its region - I like good examples of the grape and terroir.  That’s important to me.  But sometimes, a wine is just delicious.

And that’s when I love being asked, “do you like it?”  Because that really is what matters most.  So when I’m pouring an in-store tasting and the customers tell me they don’t really know much about wine, I just ask them the same thing - “do you like it?”  And I explain to them that what’s most important is whether they like it.  

So when you’re writing your tasting notes and analyzing what’s in your glass, please don’t lose sight of the importance of the pleasure the wine brings.  Yes, it’s important to appreciate the balance, the terroir and expressiveness, the aging capability, the length, and all of those other things - but remember this - you probably won’t go back for another glass if you don’t like it.  Forget what people are telling you to drink and what you should be enjoying - wine magazines, advertisements, and even wine educators can’t tell you exactly what’s right for you - only you can decide that.  So remember: first, ask yourself, “do I like it?”

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