Monday, November 5, 2007

Why I'll Never Be A Sommelier

It's not that I don't *want* to learn my wines. It's that I just don't seem to have the knack. I bought the requsite copy of Wine For Dummies a couple of years ago (I like that they have a section on Hudson Valley wines and mentioned the Rivendell Winery - YAY!). I have gone to wine tasting classes (albeit rather short ones). I kinda-sorta know what wines are supposed to work best with what foods. I just don't know if I could tell a merlot from a cabernet or a chardonnay from a sancerre if they were side by side and unlabelled. I don't know that many vineyards either, so I can't tell where a wine came from. I only learn the name of the wine if I really liked it and want to have it again (or if said wine has a really cutesy name like Fat Bastard or something like that). In restaurants I usually just wing it. I order what I think might be good with my meal depending on whether or not I am in the mood for red or white.

What really makes me a wine bumpkin is that I never am able to taste those notes of this that or the other thing that I am told I will taste. They say the wine is supposed to taste like licorice or chocolate or plums or berries or old leather. I freely admit I just don't detect these things. I can certainly taste differences in wine. I know that I could line up a hundred different cabernets and taste a hundred different "flavors" so to speak, but I wouldn't be able to tell which one tastes like strawberries and which one tastes like cinnamon.

Maybe asking this will isolate me from the wine experts for the rest of my life, but as I look at the dizzying array of wine descriptions and the fruits they are said to taste like, I find myself asking, "Why doesn't anyone think the wine tastes like grapes?"

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