Wine tasting. The phrase alone is exciting and mouth watering with just the notion of spending time with friends, enjoying wine and getting a bit buzzed in the process. But it can also be intimidating to a lot of people. They might feel like they have to be a connoisseur to fully appreciate the wine itself, but the truth is: wine tasting is better if you’re not.
There are tons of people who don’t know a lot about wine and trust me, I am among them. You may not know each scent that describes a specific wine or what it should taste like but don’t worry. By knowing everything about wine you could be limiting yourself by your expectations of that wine. Those of you who aren’t as experienced as a connoisseur, sommelier or wine maker don’t have those expectations and hence have the freedom to explore.
You have a blank slate. Tabla Rasa.
Since you have no expectations, you are able to pick up on some scents in the smell of the wine that aren’t on any wine chart. The smell could remind you of a fall day in a corn maze when you were growing up. Or the taste could remind you a little of your Godmother’s lasagna. You won’t find these things on a chart. These are completely unique experiences that the wine has brought about in your senses alone.
If you take a look at some of the music and wine pairings that Brynna and I do, you’ll see that we also rely on how the wine affects us (in other ways besides the alcohol). Most recently, in the wine and music pairing I did for Flying Leap’s Graciano I had memories of BBQs and restaurants just from the scents and taste of the wine itself. No sommelier could have pointed those out to me.
Getting Buzzed is a Fringe Benefit
Try focusing on the wine with a little bit more attention next time you go wine tasting. Discover what you can find in the wine! What memories you get from the wine or what the wine reminds you of. You could strike up a discussion with your friends to see what they get out of it too. Sure you’ll get buzzed. Maybe even full out silly if you have enough but try not to treat the wine like a Bud Light, simply there to be shotgunned with your friends. The wine maker put their heart and soul into making it and it is the product of their expression. It is art and art should not be chugged.
Stop being pompous, Jeremiah
I know, I know. Perhaps some of the feelings of those I know who work in tasting rooms have rubbed off on me but in many cases I have gotten to know many of the smaller batch wine makers and feel that what they do is really special. I can compare it to what I do as a songwriter. I put in so much time to make great music and don’t get very much money for it. The same is the case for most wine makers. There was a great article that Brynna shared with me yesterday about that exactly. Take a look here.
Enjoy Your Wine Tastings
The point is again that no matter who you are or what background you have, you can enjoy the subtleties in each wine that you taste and have it be a completely unique experience. It doesn’t have to be based on charts or classes if you don’t want it to be, but they can help guide you should you get stuck. There’s a lot of good wine out there and each one has something different to offer.