Evolution of wine appreciation

I have recently been realizing that my preferred wine style is evolving. Which has me thinking back to the evolution of my wine appreciation.

When I first began drinking wines, it was the sweet white stuff that did it for me. Funny how Europeans poke fun at Americans, indicating that Coca Cola and its thick sweet flavors have influenced our taste preferences to such an extent that all we like are sweet (or seemingly sweet) wines. (When i say seemingly sweet, it is because fruit forward wines are often interpreted by the brain as sweet wines.)

My first REAL appreciation of red wines (I think of it as my wine epiphany) happened at a steak house. I will never forget the moment, nor will I forget the wine. I was trading stocks at the time and a bunch of guys went out to celebrate a friends birthday. We all ordered our steaks, and one guy decided we should order a bottle of wine. Knowing that I would be chipping in for said bottle I poured myself a nice glass and gave it a shot. BAMMM. It was Hagafen Napa Merlot & my life would never be the same. People talk about remembering their “firsts”- I will never forget mine.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand. “Sweeter” & softer Merlots were what I initially preferred to the tannic & cloyingly dry Cabernets I had the opportunity to taste. Until somewhere along the line I grew tired of one-dimensional Merlots and began to appreciate Cabernets. For a while, it was Cab or nothing.

The next step in my “Wine appreciation evolution” was when I re-discovered whites. NO, not the sweet ones (although I had an amazing 23 year old Sauternes), but the dry, floral acidic ones. Wow, these guys complement food. It was not easy to admit it, but they actually complemented many of the foods I eat better than the Cabs I had developed a love affair with.

The most recent evolution I am starting to notice is a shift away from fruit bombs. Fear not, I am not becoming a Francophile. But I am shying away from some Australian Shiraz’s that seem to either have some residual sugar in them or were just SOO extracted (possibly by rotary fermenters) that there is nothing but fruit there. I like a little earth &/or minerality. These punch in the face fruit bomb wines were nice for a while. But I now need more.

I’m still learning and my palate is ever evolving. I bet YOURS is too. let me know…

Happy drinking!


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