For some time there’s been a need for an introduction to wine written by and for our generation. The majority of wine writing is simply not aimed at Millennials but that isn’t to say we aren’t interested in good drinks.
What even is a good wine? If you’re an educated wine buff, which is a polite way of saying a number of things, you might judge a wine according to such charged notions as length and intensity without blushing. As with most things when you dissect and analyse the joy rather goes out of it.
That is, of course, not to say that all wines are equal. A Margaux is not an ordinary drop of fermented grape juice and emphatically does not taste the same as a cheering glass of Aussie Shriaz or even a wine made with the same grapes. Nor are all Margaux “good.” There are all sorts of reasons why the wine that you taste may be “bad.” Wine faults exist. We’ll deal with that at a later time, and a bottle can be flawed for many reasons.
I remember my first sip of a mature Bordeaux as a vinous home coming. All the things that I had been expecting from other wines -elegance balanced by force- were there. That sip of a Ch. Labegorce from 2000, if you want to know, was relatively recently. I like to think that before that I did know about wine, and they’d been moments of oenological awakenings earlier, but there are certain wines at certain moments that can and will open doors onto different worlds.
Because that is what a “good” wine should do. It is much more than just a 75cl route to tipsy nirvana. A good bottle should speak very clearly, and they do speak in the way any crafted product can, of who and where and when it was made. That broad sweeping, and now unfashionable, notion might be called terroir, or you could put it another way, a wine’s ‘context’. And of course there is the context in which you get to engage with it from glassware, restaurants and merchants to where you are at that point in your life.
It’s a truism that the wine you taste in the sun basked glory of a pre-corona holiday will not quite taste the same back home. Certainly it can’t taste the same when you’re locked in under the grey and bleak conditions of the lockdown, looking out at scrubland rather than playing with a little light lunch in St. Émilion.
It’s the intention of this series to hopefully form an introduction to wine and help you enjoy what you’re drinking a little bit more.
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