Do you find that choosing wine can be a bit like a game of roulette?
You pick your bottle based on price tag and a vague memory of having drunk something similar in the past. You fill your glass and hope for the best.
Unlike beer, which, generally speaking, you can rely on to taste the same from year to year, this wine stuff just keeps bloody changing.
Harvest after harvest.
And that – depending on your perspective – is either the trouble with it, or the beauty of it.
It undoubtedly makes life interesting for winemakers and wine aficionados, but not a little tricky for you and me. Multiply grapes by regions by styles by vintages and the choices are bewildering. Though we may get to know broadly what it is we like in a wine when we taste it, we may not have the vocabulary to describe it much beyond red, white or bubbly. So we often rely on those more knowledgeable to navigate the vast cellars, taste widely and recommend. With any luck, they won’t come over all poncey in the process.
Pick a glass, any glass...
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“It’s nearly midnight”.
Myself and KD were skirting close to that cinderella time of night, when it was best to leave before turning into something less than beautiful. We had spent the previous several hours at a lovely New Zealand wine tasting arranged by the good folks at Curious Wines. Guiding us through our suppage was Joyce Austin of New Zealand Boutique Wines, as we worked our way through 11 wines and played guess-the-grape and describe-that-taste (with, it has to be said, mixed success – frankly I blame the chili I had for dinner). We were very diligent about drinking everything that was poured for us, though, to the point of there being much giddiness at our table. Luckily, though my recall might be hazy, my notes tell me that the two which most appealed to my palate that evening were a 2008 reisling and 2006 pinotage, both from the Muddy Water winery. My wine horizons, I feel, continue to expand.
It's like this - you swirl the wine, then keep a firm grip of your glass lest anyone try to make off with it