There aren’t many wines that I don’t like. It isn’t so much that I’m not discerning, as that there are many very drinkable, affordable wines out there. Very few that have come into my house have gone down the drain. Over the years, my taste in wine has changed; I’d like to say, ‘evolved.’ From talking with friends and family, I’ve noticed a pattern in wine drinking taste evolution. Here’s what I’ve noticed. Many people start out loving sweet whites, like white Zinfandel or Liebfermilch. The next stage in wine taste often seems to be Cabernet Sauvignon. From there it’s not a huge leap to Merlot, Syrah, and Chianti which seem to be the gateway wines to stage four; experimenting with lesser known dry reds like Carmenere, Pinotage and Malbec. Stage five is a revisit to the whites, but the dry whites. It begins with something familiar and easily available, usually Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc. Stage six is almost always those beautiful German Rieslings with their mouth-watering acidity. Then for novelty, our wine drinker turns to Alsatian Gewurz, Austrian Gruner Veltliner, or a Rhone Viognier. The final stage of wine taste evolution would be a return to France for an in-depth appreciation of the world’s most intriguing grape, Pinot Noir. I’m not saying that Burgundy is my favorite wine. I don’t have a favorite. I love them all. But, Pinot Noir does have nuances to it that make it a very sophisticated and elegant wine.
The other night I had a wine that was neither sophisticated nor elegant. It happens sometimes. The aromas were minimal, there was very little flavor, the acidity was not at all crisp, there was just a lot of heat; high in alcohol, low in everything else. When a wine is that poorly balanced, it’s jolting not to mention disappointing.
Yesterday, I was waiting for a pump at the gas station. The woman in front of me was taking what seemed like an extremely long time, washing her windows…after she had pumped her gas. I noticed the woman next to me who was just getting ready to pull out, when she realized she was boxed in by the cars in front and behind her and the truck parked beside her. Seeing her frustration, I looked at her, smiled and shrugged. She shrugged back and said, ‘Sometimes the day has no flow.’ ‘Amen, sister!’ I was having one of those days. It was a day full of a frantic energy that made everything clumsy and tense. The whole day was jolting. What little I was able to get done, was not getting done very well.
Sometimes the day has no flow. Sometimes the wine has no balance. But an occasional wine or day going down the drain is just part of the evolution process, right?