Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wine Philosophy

Common Sense. (Well, most of the time.)

We love wine.  I mean we love it.  We certainly drink enough of it (you, too, huh?) and over the years we've learned quite a bit about it.  But we try to keep things in perspective, too. 

Wine is a beverage.  An elixir.  A social lubricant.  Treating it any more seriously than that threatens our ability to enjoy it.  So, at the heart of our love for wine is the belief that we can't take it - or ourselves - too seriously.

We also believe this:
Price matters.  A $10 bottle is better than it was before it got marked down from $20.  Wine can get expensive - and, on occasion, it's worth it.  But when the price of a bottle of wine reaches some heights, sometimes you gotta say to yourself, Wow, I could buy a lot of groceries with that much money.

Wine should taste like the grapes.  Yes, wine should also taste like where it came from (that's why we say wine should taste like the grapes).  Syrah bottled as Hermitage is the same exact grape as Shiraz bottled in Adelaide and the exact same grape as Syrah bottled in Alexander Valley.  None of these wine should taste like the other, but they should all taste like Syrah.  When winemakers' heavy handedness obscure or distract from that, it's at the expense of the grape.

Variety is the spice of life.  The ATF approves over 10,000 new wine labels per year.  That's variety.  More than any of us can keep abreast of let alone enjoy.  So, if you believe - like we do - that inside each wine bottle is a microcosm of grapes, vines, weather, terroir, personality, love, and history, then how could you not want to make new discoveries all the time?  Sure, some wines are so good they're worth returning to.  But we are fortunate enough to have the best access to choice in the world.  And it's our duty to exercise that choice.  Where's the corkscrew?

Bad wine is real.  It's not the boogie man, and while you won't read about it elsewhere, the shelves are full of it.  No one makes bad wine on purpose, but it does happen.  Weather, bad luck, inexperience, accidents...they all happen.  So does setting a low bar, greed, and complacency.

Good wine speaks for itself.  So much in life is an acquired taste.  Wine shouldn't be.  If a wine requires that the drinker be experienced and knowledgable in order to enjoy it, then maybe it really isn't that good. 

Wine shouldn't be risky.  But if you believe the last two bullets, it is.  Spending $25 on a mediocre bottle of wine is a disappointment and a waste.  We hope to reduce that risk with our reviews here.

Wine is fun.  Back to our original point.  It's just a drink.  It's not a competitive sport.  So shut up and drink your wine.