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5ksandcabernets: 200 bottles of wine on the wall, 200 bottles of wine


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

200 bottles of wine on the wall, 200 bottles of wine

People who think I am a wine snob always ask me: "How do you know what a good bottle of wine tastes like?"

I always answer: "Go buy some wine. If you like it, it's good, if you don't, it's not good."

Now, that's being a little simplistic.

Someone with a refined palate, who has tasted hundreds and hundreds of wines, will be a little more adept at discerning "good wine" than someone whose only wine experience is the Bolla they had at Macaroni Grill.

But who is right? Do critics know more about wine than the average weekend drinker?

The New York Times' wine writer, Eric Asimov, tries to tackle this subject in his The Pour blog post titled, You Can Please All Of The People, Or You Can Make Great Wine.

Asimov comments on findings in a book titled, "The Wine Trials" which analyzes the results of blind taste tests of 540 wines by 500 volunteers.

The findings were first published in the April 7 issue of Newsweek. The book shows that 100 wines under $15 consistently outperformed more expensive wines. With this evidence, the book tries to downplay the knowledge of wine critics, calling their trade, "the jargon and pomposity of wine writing."

Asimov disagrees. He compares the palates of a novice and expert wine drinker by using a sports analogy. Translation: A non-sports fan tuning into the NFL for the first time last year would think the New York Giants were the best team ever created simply because they won the Super Bowl. A sports fan, who knows the flaws of the Giants, would put their money on the New England Patriots again and again and again.

A novice wine taster doesn't know that he doesn't know.

This brings me back to my own palate. I started drinking wine in 2002. Right now, I wouldn't drink some merlots if you gave them to me free. But back then, with my unrefined palate, my "go-to" wine was a Kendall Jackson merlot.

Since 2006, I've probably drank 200 bottles of wine, maybe more. I've gone through stages. I remember drinking my first Bordeaux, a $12 Chateau Sisson, and thinking I'd made it as a wine drinker. Now my palate frowns on the "affordable" bordeauxs, too earthy tasting, not enough body.

But that's the way it goes for me. I get hooked on one varietal, get tired of it, then find another one and get hooked. I went from bordeauxs to petite syrahs to cabernets and now I'm hooked on syrahs/shirazs. (Run dangerously has suggested I try a Zinfandel, Marietta Old Vine Red. As soon as I get my hands on a bottle, I'll post my own tasting notes).

Tuesday night, to celebrate filing my taxes on time, I drank an $18 bottle of 2005 Boarding Pass Shiraz from South Australia. The tasting notes says this wine has, "a nose of smoke, spice box, blackberry, and blueberry jam."

Now I'm not sophisticated enough to know about all of that. I mean, what's a blackberry taste like anyways.

If you blindfold me, however, I'm certain I can tell the difference between Boarding Pass and Yellow Tail or Wishing Tree; or Stags' Leap Petite Syrah and Bogle.

But it's always fun when you find your own Two Buck Chuck.




Blogger rundangerously said...

think you'll really enjoy marietta old vine red. it's a field blend, predominately zinfandel. one of my favorite every day wines!

but for just plain zin, check out st. francis old vines zinfandel (sonoma).

April 17, 2008 at 6:14 AM  

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