Monday, July 30, 2012

going back to what's comfortable


2001 Bodegas Lan Gran Reserva | DOCa Rioja


2004 Inniskillin Montague Vineyard Pinot Noir | VQA Niagara Peninsula

As winos, we need to think outside of the box. We tell everyone about the need to explore and try different things, to be brave. But do we listen to our own advice? Comfort level plays a huge part in the wines we drink, and we sometimes end up drinking the same thing, bottle after bottle, without even realizing it. Maybe it's a subconscious thing when we're shopping for wines. I'll have an idea of some wine I want to be drinking, and tend to ignore anything else. Because yes, there is such thing as a craving for a specific wine. Like many other things, the unknown is a bit scary, and when we pick wines we've drunk before, there's at the very least a sliver of a guarantee that we'll like what we taste.

Mature Gran Reserva Rioja and Niagara pinot noir, two of those very wines that always seem to offer consistent pleasure. The Rioja at nearly 11 years of age, just so elegant, becoming sweeter and sweeter. And of course, an old friend, the 2004 Inniskillin Montague Vineyard pinot noir, last tasted in December 2009. Still holding on nicely, finely structured, but blossoming with that Niagara clay warmth. Nice stemmy quality as well.

It's all about trying new things, educating yourself by tasting, and building new context around unfamiliar wines. But it takes effort. I've heard wine people - sommeliers and other professionals - suggest that the next time you're in a wine shop/restaurant you should buy/order something you either don't recognize, or can't pronounce. There might be some truth to that. So with the month of July nearly over, and with only about a month and a few weeks of summer left, let's be on the lookout for the unfamiliar, for the strange, for the esoteric, and for the mysterious!


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