Monday, November 26, 2012

knowing what she likes

2009 Bollig-Lehnert Riesling Kabinett | QmP Trittenheimer Apotheke | Mosel

I don't really treat my pieces here as reviews, so in that sense, the wines I write about aren't so much recommendations as they are a collection of what I find interesting and exciting. If we have common tastes, great; if not, no big deal. Just as long as we have a common understanding of what a truly great wine is - authenticity, character, balance, drinkability, and ageability.

Knowing the wines your friends and loved ones enjoy - that's the whole point isn't it. You want to show them new things, but wine isn't about imposing yourself on others. If there isn't a spirit of generosity and pleasure to it all, wine loses a lot of its meaning. And so I've studied my friends, and I think I've come to a good understanding of what their palate preferences are. I've got friends that have sweet tooths and those who are strictly savoury - friends who devour meat, and others who favour seafood. And I'm most thankful for the friends I don't have - the picky eaters, the close-minded, the vegetarian.

Knowing these preferences gives you more confidence to share new wines. So I'm trying to impress and charm someone (a girl, duh) with a decided sweet tooth. But in the midst of all the compotes and tarts, she gets savoury foods too. So we start with something she absolutely gets - kabinett wines from the Mosel, with that touch of sweetness on the palate. But as we're drinking, I get her to notice other things as well. The acidity, the minerality, the extract ... giving her a more complete perspective of the wine, outside of it's a sweet wine. So we'll start moving onto drier wines, but those that retain a certain brightness of fruit and freshness. My end-game is to have her appreciate the gloriously earthy, country wines of Europe, but as you see, it's all a process. One step at a time - after all, we can't go straight into Bandol, old Rioja, and Barolo.

That's sort of the intellectual side of it, the wine consultant speaking. From a straight wino point of view - instinctively knowing what a person likes to eat and drink is one of the most intimate, nurturing things one person can do for another. It's why eating in your mother's kitchen tops any fine dining experience - mother knows exactly what you want to eat, and how you like to eat it. And so for my friends at least, I'll keep trying until I get it right. Finding that one wine that makes them close their eyes and say yes, this is the one.


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