It is a question I’ve thought of with increasing frequency. If something tastes good, has it done its job? Think about that for a moment. Don’t worry. I’ll wait for you.
By now, you’ve decided to continue reading or figured out that I’m completely full of it. Either way, it is quite the concept that has more importance today than it did just a few years ago when people were a bit more interested in focusing mostly on how many points were given to a wine, or who was farming the vineyard. It falls squarely into the crosshairs of those curious about where their food comes from, how it is prepared and not surprisingly, for us wine lovers the same sentiments apply to wine. Since I started drinking wines in 2005, (yes it wasn’t so long ago) I was quick to say what I viewed as redeemable qualities in a wine. A wine could be corked and I could see what good lied beneath. A highly alcoholic wine gave me the chance to take a sip and skip any other wine that night, thus saving myself the risk of torturing my liver any further. but what about those wines that were flatly good, sound, but with no soul? What about the wines that had been forced to be something that they really weren’t. Those wines that were picked riper than all hell, watered back to be under 13% alcohol, bumped up with acid and tossed into neutral oak? Did the wine taste good? Well, some of them might. In fact, if you are tasting loads of wines it is damn near without question that you will potentially find a wine that was produced in a manner that would surprise you that you actually enjoyed.
Is there anything wrong with your palate? Oh goodness, please don’t let it be that. Do you unconsciously love super extracted wines that were brilliantly matched to enough oak that made the sweeping under the carpet go unnoticed? Well, maybe. And, there is nothing wrong with that. But, wouldn’t you like to know more about where your wines came from? Do you feel like you would further or better enjoy the wine that was in your glass if you had more of a complete picture about how it came about? Or, would you believe that the only truth that matters is in the glass, even if some of it were concealed?
Many that are interested in merely taking a wine as a generic beverage, owning only what is residing in the glass make great efforts in attempting to disconnect the aspects which should be connected to place. If you like a wine, that should be enough. But, for those of us that study these vineyards, that feel there is something more to a wine than sniffing, tasting and jotting down, it is difficult to simply say that
To me, as a wine geek, it is something that I feel driven by, to know exactly what I am tasting. Is it terroir, technique or something altogether different that I am tasting. Of course, it is difficult to unravel the two as they are immediately intertwined once a hand touches grapes either in the vineyard or in the cuverie. But nonetheless, I can’t look past this curiosity as a consumer. And I only wish there were more access to knowing what exactly is done behind the curtain. A simple brochure or set of generalities doesn’t do much good when each wine itself is an exception to the rule.
So, here is a push to anyone listening. Tasting good is no longer good enough. We need more information on where our wines come from.