Sunday, October 19, 2008
TOO CLOSE FOR COMFORT
I work in the wine industry and really enjoy it. I've been lucky to have experienced many of the world's greatest wines and met a lot of the famous personalities behind them.
When I and my peers drink wines , almost invariably we evaluate them. This isn't always a serious consideration, but even with the simplest quaffing wines we (either to ourselves or others)categorize them as good bad or indifferent. We think about whether the wine has good fruit or fruit spoiled by rot, rain or poor vintage; whether the wood if used was too much, not enough or of poor quality; whether the winery conditions were too clean, just right or plain dirty; whether the wine is too young, too old or about right etc. Generally these are instant observations and then, depending on the social situation we can just get on with enjoying the wine.
On the weekend I was in wellington with Richard and we went to a wine bar and ordered a glass each of a Hawkes Bay Chardonnay. After a sip or two I observed that the wine was good, a bit young and woody and had a salty/savoury character (most likely a combination of lees and oak).
Richard, looking in his glass and tasting again said "I was enjoying that but now all I can taste is salt".
Richard is a musician both as profession and hobby and evaluates music in the same way - seeing the nuances that the lay person doesn't. It hopefully doesn't cause him to miss out on the pleasures of music although he rarely listens to rock or Pop (but he does have hill-billy music in his car). Maybe what his knowledge allows him is to explore new and esoteric territory of greatness that the layman never discovers. This can be true of wines too where with knowledge we might become jaded re the everyday wines but have the key to unlock the mysteries of the world's great wines.