Posted by: jackslife | November 3, 2009

The Great Wine Adventure

Those who know me personally, realize that I rarely shy away from an opportunity to become snobby on a new topic.  Previous forays into snobbishness have been music, movies, books, cigars, and beer.  Well, my newest effort is wine-snobbery, which is a medium that lends itself to a level of snobbishness that I have never before approached.  Wine critics are notoriously snobby and condescending.  Rod Dreher recently posted on his blog about a wine book that he was reading, the writer of which has been labeled by a colleague as a “pompous gasbag”.  This description lead one commenter to state that wine writing is “supposed to be pompous gasbaggery”.

There is undoubtedly something about wine that brings out the gasbag in its enthusiasts.  It is hard to talk seriously about wine without sounding pompous or pretentious.  As I have gotten more into wine, I can see where these gasbags are coming from.

I have been a casual wine drinker for quite a while now, but my enthusiasm for wine is relatively new, and can be traced pretty directly to two separate events.  The first event was a recent trip to visit my father-in-law in the Washington wine country.  He was gracious enough to share some of his collection with my wife and I, and to take us around to some of his favorite wineries.  One of the wines that he shared with me was a 2006 Bookwalter Preface Cabernet Sauvignon that, to use a typical wine phrase, rocked my face off.

The second event was my friend Matt introducing me to Gary Vaynerchuck’s podcast, Wine Library TV.  Imagine if the OxiClean guy were to make a show about wine that maintained an erudite take on wine, combined with Masters of the Universe action figures and a New York Jets spit bucket, that show would end up being Wine Library TV.  When you first hear a wine critic go on about all of the things that they taste in wine, you wonder if it’s all just a bunch of horse poop.  Vaynerchuck is always talking about the currants, cassis, black cherries that he tastes in a wine, as well as less appetizing things like road tar and gym socks.  Why would anyone want to drink Essence of Gym Socks?

Since we got back from Washington Beth and I have tried several different wines, and it’s been fun to start being able to pick out some of the complex flavors of wine.  The variation between different wines is amazing.  Not only is one varietal of wine different from another, but wine can vary from one label to another, from year to year, and even between individual bottles.  More experienced wine snobs will tell you that a wine is alive, and that on any given day your wine will not taste exactly like it will on any other day.  I don’t know about all that, but I have been growing in my appreciation and experience with wine.  There’s nothing like sniffing a glass of wine and just letting the complexities wash over you, drinking all of the subtle aromas.  How’s that for some gasbaggery?

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