I remember a quote I heard when I first started traveling, “Life is like a book, if you don’t travel, you live on just one page.” The same is true of wine: if you only drink wine of one grape, from one manufacture, what have you learned about wine; how many pages are in your book? To put it simply, are you a wine drinker, or a wine lover?
The difference begins at about $4,000 to $6,000 a year depending on your disposable income level. Wine drinkers were once rare in the United States, though not anymore, but wine Lovers are still rare creatures indeed. See if any of this sounds familiar to you.
Do your adventures in liquor stores never get passed the big cardboard end cap isles where they keep the factory wine of the week, or do you roam the isles? Can you tell the difference between a Boudreaux, a Burgundy or Beaujolais–do you even want to? I’ll admit, I can’t tell one wine from another by taste, but I know there is a difference and I want to learn what that is.
How about specialty stores, have you visited any? I have a store for Italian wine, Center Street Wine & Spirits, 382 Center Street, Wallingford, CT 06492, another who knows a ton about Australian and New Zealand wines Madison Wine Exchange, 188 Boston Post Road, Madison CT 06443, my French wine guy Mount Carmel Wine & Spirits, 2977 Whitney Ave, Hamden, CT 06578, Spanish and Portuguese wine guy Gran Vin, 28 East Grand Ave, New Haven CT 06513, and Napa Valley wine guy Gillette Ridge Wine & Spirits, 860 Cottage Grove Road, Bloomfield, CT. I bet I’ll have Chilean, Argentine, and South African wine guys too before long.
To be a wine lover takes effort, like going to the supermarket and buying some fruit. When was the last time you purchased and ate cherries, blackberries, raspberries, or boysenberries? I’ve never eaten a boysenberry in my life. So how would I ever know a wine taste likes boysenberries? Maybe our wine experience needs to start in the produce isle. And as a quick aside, if you say a wine tastes like dog doo, my first thought is “how do you know the flavor of dog doo?” I like a good adventure, but that sounds like a gustatory experience I can live without. I’ll just take your word for it and skip that bottle.
To be a wine lover might mean making a trip to the library, to pick up some vocabulary and basic understanding of the process and the history of wine. This might actually help you to enjoy wine more. I don’t like most wine speak: “firm skeleton,” “old bones,” and “nervy” do nothing to improve my wine drinking experience, not nearly as much as eating a raspberry. But learning what to look for in color, what to expect from the wines nose, and how to taste a wine will help you better understand what you are doing. You’re already reading this wine blog; check out some others to gain a deeper perspective. Two I really enjoy are The Buddha in Your Glass, and Red Wine Lovers.
Now I know some of you are probably thinking that wine is just for drinking, and all these extras are just Griffy being a wine snob! To that I’ll answer no, I’m a wine lover; love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious, boastful, arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrong-doing and seeks the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things. Love never dies. Be a wine lover!
‘Phylloxera’ by Christy Campbell The air is like a draught of wine. … Who does not love wine, women, and song remains a fool his whole life long.