Chapter One, Part Three.
Look, I know the drill. I’ve been there myself. You’re in a wine store reading those little signs in front of each wine when you start to feel out of place, kind of like one of those Duck Dynasty guys who mistakenly wandered into a gay pride parade.
Shelf talkers tout the virtues of the wine at hand, and usually contain a wine review from a magazine or newspaper. As you read how a wine “displays aromas of agave curd caressed by nuances of Louisiana road tar,” you find yourself thinking, “I never smell and taste these things in my wine.” You may have wondered, “What’s wrong with me? Am I perceptually challenged?”
If this sounds familiar, you’ve come to the right blog. WineSnark.com is here to ease your wine appreciation apprehension.
Right up front I’d like to correct a common misconception caused by these shelf talker wine reviews. No one added cat pee to your Sauvignon Blanc or horse manure to your Burgundy; they smell that way on purpose.
One of the great mysteries of wine is its chameleon-like ability to taste like so many things other than the grapes from which it came. Wine can be made from any number of fruits, but wines made from other fruits lack the variety of flavors found in grape wine. It’s as if this schizophrenic little cluster of fruit has multiple personalities.
Do you remember when you were younger and shared a bottle of apple wine with your friends? Did anyone rave about the complexity of the wine between retches? Probably not, because wines made from apples only taste and smell like apples (if memory serves – that’s true on the way down and coming back up). The same holds true for wines made from raspberries, cherries, blueberries and all the other fruits under the sun, all that is, except for grapes.
Wines made from grapes sometimes display aromas and flavors of grapes, but the characteristics are more likely to resemble apples, pears, black berries or cherries. Wine might also remind you of Darjeeling tea, smoked meat or hazelnuts. Grapes are like the Dame Edna of the wine world, they are great fruit impersonators.
So if you’re still wondering, “What’s wrong with me? Am I perceptually challenged?” The answer is no, there’s nothing wrong with you or your perceptions. Well, maybe there is, but if you don’t start commenting on these blogs I’ll never get to know you well enough to judge. You probably just need a little guidance, a couple of pointers and maybe some shock therapy. Meanwhile, this blog will put you on the path towards analyzing and describing wine just like the wine critics do.
I suppose you want to learn to analyze and describe wine or you wouldn’t have read this far (after all, 480 words is like the War and Peace of blogs). Maybe you just surfed across this blog while killing time before your doctor’s appointment, but you’ve read this far so I’ll keep writing and you can follow along even if you’re only killing time before your colonoscopy.