I’m preparing to fly to KC to lead a wine tasting in a few days. But not before I head to Boston to do a wine training. I was recently asked my opinion about a wine by the CEO of a multi-million dollar wine importer. And today I was asked to be a contributing writer to a well regarded wine website. SO WHO THE HECK AM I???…
The truth is, I’m just a GUY who has always aspired to DO WHAT I LOVE. It started while in the restaurant business. Which led me to a vineyard in Israel. And from there to Napa…and so on.
OK, big deal WTG, so now you think you’re a real big shot…you have made it. HECK NO! I’ve got to change the wine world before I have made it ;). And frankly, there are times that I feel like a fraud (here comes the confession part). I’m not familiar with 99% of Italy’s wine regions. I’ve never taken a sommelier course. Never tried a first growth Bordeaux. I’ve only been doing this whole wine thing for about 4 years – a good deal of which was spent writing and not getting paid a cent. And…(here’s the big one…wait for it…)…I can’t tell a 90 point wine from a 100 point wine.
OK, this is more than a confession. It is a challenge – to wine critics everywhere. Are your palates really that much better than mine? Is there really a difference between a wine you rate 91 points and one that you say deserves 96 points?
I figure I can break wine down into a few general categories.
- A flawed wine - a wine that has something clearly wrong with it
- a bad wine – a wine that isn’t technically spoiled (or flawed) but it is just plain bad
- a decent wine – this could be a wine that is OK, drinkable, but really nothing to write home about
- a good wine – this is a wine that is enjoyable and while not mind blowing, if priced right (under $20) can be real pleasurable
- a great wine – this is a wine wherein all the parts have come together and the stuff inside this bottle is just damn good.
FIVE, count them, 5 different levels for grading wine. That is it. No cockamamie 100 point scale (that generally starts at 50 anyway). No 89 point wines being inferior to a 90 point wine. Just flawed, bad, decent, good & GREAT. And mind you, one man’s (or woman’s) great wine CAN be another’s decent wine & visa versa. What is better…a rare steak or a well done one? I know my preference (bloody rare) but who is to say which is better & which is worse? Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
So if I can only categorize wines into 5 grades (some might say A, B, C, D & F), am I a wine expert? Aficionado? Connoisseur? Sommelier? Or just a big fat fraud?
Who knows. I guess that is up to the people I speak to about wine to determine. What I can say is that in my few years at this wine thing I have FULLY immersed myself. I’ve worked in vineyards & wineries in multiple countries with winemakers old & yound (some professionally trained others self taught). I’ve taken courses. Read books. Joined tasting groups. Gone to countless tastings. And yes, I have tasted & spit A CRAP-LOAD of wine (swallowed a bit as well). Figure along the way I must have learned something…
I’m also “wine curious”. This is an expression I heard and I loved it. It describes me to a T. I love learning about wine. Trying new wines. Smelling wine. Travelling to wine regions. I can’t seem to get enough of it. And yes, I have learned A LOT.
I’m getting a bit lost in my thoughts here, but amongst the things that prompted me to write this was my desire to start VLOGGING. I intend to start tasting wines on camera & uploading the videos (if I can figure out how the heck to edit a video & upload it). I hope to start soon. But my primary intention is to play my role in doing what so many of my fellow wine lovers out there are doing…to continue to demystify wine, make it more accessible to the masses. And who knows, maybe throw a bit of humor and dare I say interesting tidbits into the mix.
If I ever get to the V-logging I do hope you will watch, feel free to critique & please laugh. ‘Cause if we can’t laugh, and enjoy some fine wine along the way, then what the heck are we doing it all for???
Happy JUST ENJOY THE DAMN GLASS OF WINE wine tasting!