First, I have to admit that I came to wine fairly late. I was well into my adulthood when I decided to investigate.
I may have been reticent to give it a go because of experiences early in life. You see, my parents weren’t really drinkers (maybe once or twice a year). On the rare occasion they chose to drink, it was not so much for the flavor as for the experience (aka effect). As a result, they usually bought pretty gosh awful wine. Now and then, they would give me a taste. And it was those first sips of bad wine that stuck with me for years.
Good Company Helps You Grow
But then (years later) I fell in with a crowd of folks – both at work and in my social circle – who were singing the praises of wine . These folks were actually talking intelligently about the flavors in the wine. In fact, I remember the first time I noticed the flavors in a wine. A colleague from my office was quite the oenophile. One evening he was sipping a Chardonnay and talking about how buttery it was. He offered me a glass, and I didn’t want to be impolite. I took a sip and — OMG — it had a pretty strong buttery flavor. And that was that! I wanted to know more.
Of course, there is so much to experience in the world of wine that just stepping into a wine store was initially daunting. I was just a beginner, so I decided to start on the bunny slope. What I mean is that I decided to start with only wines that were of a single varietal. That way I could learn what the flavor profiles were for specific types of grapes and the wines produced from them. And because that was still a very large number of wines, I decided to limit myself further to wines produced domestically in the U.S. That way I could compare the differences among the wine houses as well as how changes to the many variables in winemaking made changes in the resulting wine.
Rome Wasn’t Built In One Tasting
According to The Wine Institute, the U.S. produced almost 700 million gallons of wine in 2011 (over 600 million in California alone). Knowing what that might do to my liver, I took a few years – yes, years – in my exploration of domestic single varietal wines. Oh, I can’t say that I didn’t ever stray. I’m only human. I can still remember an amazing Gaja Barbaresco that had lovely blueberry flavors. While that whetted my appetite for more, I did my best to focus because … my tongue was in training.
The World Is The Territoire
Now I have finally made the move to a deliberately broader wine experience. Don’t get me wrong: I am no pro. But I think I’m at a place where I won’t be confused and completely overwhelmed by the sheer volume and diversity of wines from across the globe. Of course, I’ll be moving at a measured pace as I look, swirl, sniff and quaff my way along this journey. And I’ll be posting my palatal travel experiences here at Oenophilogical.
I’m open to suggestions, by the way. Big time! So feel free to drop a comment here or in response to any of my posts with your recommendations on your favorite varietals and/or wines.
All Photos In This Post Are Credit WikiMedia