Saturday, May 30, 2009

With purpose

There's a few things in wine that I absolutely abhor, one of them being this idea that you should open any bottle mindlessly, just because. You pay a lot of hard-earned money for your wine (this, of course, to the folks that actually research what they're buying), so why would you open a bottle without realizing all the gains you can achieve from it?

Drinking a wine doesn't just give you pleasure from its colour, its bouquet, its creates taste memories, associations that you can apply to future wines - this is true pleasure, the delight in remembering and connecting these associations.

For example: if you drink a Californian cabernet today, and a French syrah tomorrow, and then a South African merlot the next day, what do you achieve? You're tasting a slew of wines which have very little in common, and therefore, you're unable to create a string of taste memories. Now, if you were to drink a Napa cabernet, a Left Bank Bordeaux, and then an Australian cabernet/merlot blend, then you can quickly associate these wines together, and recall the differences in flavour profile of the cabernet grape. That, is tasting with a purpose.

I try to adhere to this principle, always. I love drinking wines from the same region together, from the vintage, or from the same varietal. There has to be something in common between the wines you drink, because only then will your entire mind be stimulated. Drinking without intellectual stimulation is for the drunkards - enlightened individuals should strive for something higher.

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