Friday, April 1, 2011

Enjoying the grape journey

You know, it felt good to be thrown a “wine curve ball” and to take it in stride, like in my last post. Sure, I have a wine blog and so obviously I enjoy wine and enjoy learning about it. However, as you might have figured out, I don’t desire to know all about wine or even to have a career in wine – unless I can be an importer, travelling all over the world in search of great wine of course (feel free to front me the startup money for that venture!) – I just enjoy drinking it and I like to know a little bit about it. My knowledge is to complement my enjoyment – I get tired of analyzing wine and overthinking it. For example, by the end of Blind Ambition Month (October, where we try every wine blind), I can’t wait to just open a bottle and have the only think I think about is “Do I like this?”.

I enjoy being able to try something new and to learn about it. I like comparing similar wines and finding out why I might like one or the other – like we do in my wine club. I even enjoy trying something I previously didn’t care for and seeing how my taste has evolved. I enjoy picking out a bottle at a work dinner and having multiple people really enjoy it - a few weeks ago I did just that... I saw a bottle of the Kenwood Jack London Cabernet Sauvignon on a restaurant menu for $40. Normally it retails for about $30-33, I usually buy a couple bottles when its on sale for $25ish, so I knew it was a good deal (low markup) for $40 and it was fairly soft and easy going, and sure enough, everyone who had a class enjoyed it - and I didn't break the expense account! It wasn’t an overly impressive selection or an amazing life altering wine discovery, but everyone looked to me to order something, I did, and it was a success.

It’s the little things like that, that keep me learning about this ever evolving drink. Perhaps one day I’ll pursue a career in it, and I certainly commend those who study and increase their knowledge, but for now, I’m happy learning a little bit now and then. I encourage all those who are interested in learning about wine to not be intimidated – sure, there IS a lot to learn, but you don’t need to be a "certified" anything to know what YOU like, and in the end, isn’t picking something you enjoy what you’re really after? Next time you’re taste a wine you like, google it. Check out the website. Read the tasting notes. Notice what you like about it, so you can then replicate it. And if you care to, look up the ones you hate – so you can know what to avoid! (sometimes I think that's even more important!!)

Keep trying new things – try the wine flight next time you go out and take the sheet home with you. If you do want to start keeping notes, there are a ton of wine apps available for your smart phones and remember, you don’t have to keep a volume of wine notes either – just jot down enough to remember what to look for again and what to avoid. And most importantly – relax and enjoy what you like! Take a class if you want, but if you don't, then don't! The knowledge, however much you want to learn, will come eventually. Just enjoy the grape journey!

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