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Issue 37; Untitled Wine Article

Dan Keeling, Editor and Co-Founder of Noble Rot, on first meeting Mr Andrew (business partner) in 2007, asked him if he preferred drinking sauvignon blanc from the Loire Valley or New Zealand, and he answered, “That’s like asking if I prefer kissing pretty girls or ugly girls”.  This thought got me thinking.

I for one do not claim to know a lot about wine, I know a little bit and always happy to be corrected by the better informed.  If you know nothing of wine, then say so, just do not follow it up with the words “but I know what I like” because if you know nothing of wine then you actually do not know what you like until it hits your taste buds.  I was recently in a situation where my friends and I were offered a Chardonnay, you know the one, most girls in the early 2000’s are called it for some unknown reason. I served it to many an unsuspecting group of girls on a Saturday night out who could have drunk any of the white wines on offer and would still think it was a Chardonnay if you said it was, not because of their taste it was just they were all cheap and tasted the same.  It has been given a bad rep.  And those words of "I am not a fan of Chardonnay" came out, because we do not like it, or do we? Turns out this was a nice bottle of wine which the four of us gladly drank with pleasure.  The point is do not hold back when offered something by a professional.

Wine is to be enjoyed, I have also had wine that would be better launched into space than drank but in all aspects of life you will get this.  The answer is to research, read and listen, and without doubt leave any pretentiousness at the door.  I have heard the loud bellowing of a Wine Snob who, like me, knew a bit but unlike me spoke like he was the head taster at Berry, Brothers & Rudd, which obviously, he was not.  There was no need for this gentleman to speak of wine loudly but he clearly liked all to hear, even the sommelier advised it was not right for the meal but succumbed.  Then I am sure he took great pleasure when it didn’t taste right with his fish.  But also price does not always mean best.

I have picked up the occasional bottle from a supermarket that has been nice at £9, I have also had an okay bottle at £30.  This is where "I know what I like" can come in, take BB&R’s Good Ordinary Claret, a Bordeaux that is a great everyday wine and retails at £11 a bottle, it is exactly what it says on the bottle.  Every bottle of wine is its own ecosystem so sometimes you will get a bad one, I have experienced this, from my own cellar as well as others, it just didn’t taste the same and it wasn’t just me. But on the whole take note of the wines you like, year, grape and producer.

Don’t let thoughts or your own pretence take over with wine, just sit back and get to know it and read up on it, but not in a snobby way.