I've always felt that I have good taste. In everything. Sure, it's changed a lot as I've grown up, whether we're talking about food, clothing, music, girls, whatever...But I want to talk about my palate regarding wine specifically. Maybe it'll give a better idea as to why I love or hate certain wines.
When I began drinking wine, I followed a fairly standard learning curve of starting on New World whites, a few off dry wines, and lighter reds. It wasn't until maybe just before my 19th birthday that I really began to appreciate red wines, and wines with generally more heavier bodies. But lately, I've noticed that I'm moving away from that - a really clear change in tastes.
I used to really love big, masculine, brutish wines. Not overoaked fruitbombs though - I want to make VERY VERY clear that I've never liked those wines. Ever. I'm not a fucking yuppie fag. Excuse the language. I refer to Rhone valley wines in particular, as well as wines from the Southwest of France and of course, Riojas. I enjoyed an edge to the wine, a coarseness to it. And of course, a wonderful sense of earthiness, of terroir. Certainly, also because I was able to find Rhones in the $10-15, which was the price point that I aimed for in my first 2 years of serious wine drinking.
The problem with these wines is that I found them to be hard to really mesh with Chinese food. At home, the vast majority of our cooking is Chinese, which can sometimes be easily overwhelmed by stronger wines.
Since around October of last year, for some strange reason, I began to notice wines that were leaner, but more focussed. Wines with a really racy acidity to it, with good structure but also delicate enough to go with light foods. The bottle that did it? A 2005 Flat Rock Cellars pinot noir. It had beautiful complexity, underlined with this tight acidity that was really razor sharp. The intensity and the precision just captivated me.
To me, a wine`s structure is very, very important. My friends hear me talking about that all the time. I don`t care much for upfront fruit flavours. Ripeness is nice, but ripeness without backbone is like a building without a sturdy foundation. At present, it doesn`t provide any fascinating secondary and tertiary elements to the wine, and sooner or later, it will collapse.
So this is the wine that I`m starting to learn to appreciate more and more. I want a wine that is focussed. Wines which tells stories, and maybe makes you work a bit to uncover all the elements. Something that is harsher, with an edge. Wines that cut into your palate, that don`t float around. Wines that are meant for the table, instead of these `sipping`wines that I suppose are more fashionable. And definitely, wines that are true to where they are from, that showcase gusto della terra.