Monday, August 28, 2017

Tale Of A False Positive

A few months ago I was swooning over a wine.  Gushing wouldn't be an overstatement, as I suggested (not yet halfway through the year) that this wine could be the wine of the year.  Imagine my regret when, not once, but twice now I've had a hard time drinking any more of that wine.

Talk about remorse.  For starters, I stocked up on it and have several bottles left of a $20 wine I can't bring myself to drink. Then there's the fact that such a strong recommendation no doubt resulted in others making a similar buy.  (Sorry!)

What happened?

Did the wine change?  Possible, but unlikely - it's a young chardonnay, so I doubt it.  Did I change?  Nah - that infatuation was too recent for me to have suddenly fallen down a curmudgeon hole.  So, what gives?

One of the first wine retailers I ever knew had a saying: you can't separate sensation from experience.  Around the time I recommended that wine so highly, was also in the midst of an ongoing personal rant against wine styles that favor caricature-like distortions over balance or form.  In other words, a lot of wines have the volume turned all the way up (as lamented in this piece titled, Why Is My Wine Yelling At Me?).  So, my state of mind around that time was one of frustration and disappointment at what has seemingly become of the norm in mainstream wine.  What's more is the target of a lot of that sentiment has been domestic chardonnay.

Along comes the Limestone Hill chardonnay from De Wetshof.  It tastes nothing like California and, more importantly, tastes nothing like chardonnay from the west coast.  It's new, it's different, and it's dazzling because it's new and different.  But now, with some time and distance from that initial wow, its merits in non-comparative reference, well, pale.  It is neither balanced nor restrained, nor really palatable.

I've learned this lesson before and still can't seem to get it right.  By way of this cautionary tale, let me offer to you the same advice I'm now reminding myself of: make sure you've had a wine at least twice before you go off half cocked and buy a bunch of it.  And don't take some wine blogger's word for it, either!

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