is so much information available about wine, but whom do you read
and what do you taste? I am a proponent of reading everything and
tasting everything. Everyone has his or her favorite varietal and
producers, but it is imperative to try other wines so that one does
not develop a house palate-- a term I learned from Bart Araujo, proprietor
of Araujo Estate in Napa, for a narrow flavor profile that you tend
to favor. With the plethora of wine out there, it is possible to try
something different every night. The more you taste, the more you
learn and the more you'll like. Comparing styles is one sure way of
understanding any varietal. If you are going to drink Chardonnay,
drink from as many countries and appellations as possible. But be
sure to pit them against other varietals, and soon I'm sure you will
have many other favorites. Try Sauvignon Blancs from all over the
globe, and Pinot Gris and Rieslings andĚ have no limits. Do away with
the preconceptions that often come with choosing a wine. Not every
Riesling is sweet. Not all German wines are sweet. Sauvignon Blancs
are not sweet. Can you see the theme here?
As for what to read, once again, read everything. Do not take any
one person's word as gospel. There is a science to wine making, but
wine tasting at some point becomes not a science but an art. It is
important to have multiple opinions to compare when it comes to wine
reviews. Last year at a trade tasting in Boston, a particular Zinfandel
was said by many wine buyers to be the biggest wine at the tasting.
Two months later, it was reviewed by a well-known wine publication
and was said to be light and refreshing!?! In my opinion, the wine
was what I call a palate suicide-- a wine that has such an attack
that it kills the palate for anything that might be tasted afterwards.
Whose palate do I trust? Usually mine, but if I do not have the luxury
of tasting a particular wine, I want to have as many opinions as possible.
There are multiple wine writers--Stephen Tanzer, Hugh Johnson, the
people at Restaurant Wine--whose palates I not only trust, but that
I also look to for guidance. It is easy to like people who like what
you like, but understanding and appreciating those who do not adds
a bit of validity to your tastes.
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