Saturday, July 25, 2009

Connoisseurship

What makes you a connoisseur of wine? The image of one is of course, a bespectacled, white, older gentleman, preferably English, wearing tweed, a cardigan, and a pocket watch. Of course, that idea is so outdated, it's no longer relevant. But, the idea of a young generation (under 30) that's serious about wine still invokes disbelief.

I'm not trying to make a case for myself. I don't consider myself a connoisseur. A connoisseur is a wine lover who has a vast experience drinking the wines of the world. It is someone with a developed palate, who can distinguish all the aspects that go into making a wine taste as it does. It is someone who appreciates uniqueness, and individuality of each bottle.

Age has nothing to do with it. Nor does money. Rarely is the man with 50 year verticals of First Growth claret the one with taste. And who says a 50 year old is more of a connoisseur than a 25 year old, simply on the merit of age?

Experience trumps age, always. Volume drinking counts for nothing. A 50 year old may have been drinking wine for 3 decades, but if it consists of cheap alcoholic fruit punch, he has learned nothing. Wine experience requires a focused, and methodical approach to tasting each and every bottle. Volume drinking is just that - drinking for the sake of drinking.

So don't be quick to dismiss the opinions of a 20 year old wine lover. No one has a choice of when they're born. As in all things, experience is what counts.

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