Nobody's Perfect

Posted by The Wine Whore |

Ever have one of those rare moments of clarity? I know these moments are few and far between for me too, but just the other day, I was fortunate enough to have one of these rare moments of thought and meditation...

It came to me while reading this post on friend and fellow blogger Loco Diner's website. In search of the perfect bottle of wine for those who prefer sweet and ALSO those people who prefer dry wine... I started to think.

Isn't it limiting (and often confusing) to only use the words sweet or dry. There are just so many better ways to classify wine. I am not suggesting that anyone tries to act like a wine snob by just pulling creative wine words and descriptives from a list. I am just saying that you shouldn't limit yourself to only two categories of wine.

Having trouble coming up with ways to describe your wine?

Try this: Describe what you DON'T like about a particular wine! It's a lot of fun, and will actually help you find more wines that you actually LIKE!

Let's try it together....

What DON'T you like about some of the wines you've tried?


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Mark Hendy said...

There is no wine with the obvious exception of Retsina which arguably can't be classified as a wine anyway that I don't like to a point that I'll stop drinking it

The Wine Whore said...

Ok, cool! Now what is it about Retsina that you DON'T like? Also, you may not stop drinking it, but what qualities do you enjoy least in many of the wines that you have tried?


allan said...

I don't like the fact that Chateau Margaux is so expensive!! I don't like the fact that Chateau Marojallia is so hard to find locally.

Wow, that works :)

The Wine Whore said...

LOL! Doesn't it feel better to get it out... sorta like a strange wine therapy session? :)

I would have to say that taste and cost are often related, so you definitely make a valid point!

I would add that I hate the way people are often snobbish about their expensive French wines... as if there is nothing in the world that compares. Okay, maybe they have a good point, but it still pisses me off! :)

Ever have an expensive bottle that disappointed? If so, what was it missing?


allan said...

I've never had an expensive bottle that disappointed. But, I am very selective about wine I'll spend $100+ on, so that isn't surprising. I've have plenty of $20-$50 bottles (which is supposed to meet the definition of fine wine) that disappointed.

I've also been disappointed far too often by the "let the Sommelier pick" game. Not that they choose bad wines, just wines that aren't to my taste.

The Wine Whore said...

I've had a similar experience in those price ranges... hard to fail with $100+ (if you are selective) and easy to fail with the $20-$50 range. I also don't play that game anymore... if I ask him questions, I am always checking his/her responses against my experience and palate. I guess that's probably the best way to take any sort of wine advice after all.

What was you most disappointing $20-50 bottle?


Kate said...

Too many bitter tannins and smell/taste too much like vodka.
If I wanted coffee or a vodka tonic...I would drink that, not wine.

I'm not ALL about "easy drinking" wines, but when the flavors overpower your palate and nose - its not for me.

Richard Auffrey said...

One of my favorite things about Japanese Sak� is that there are so many more words to describe Sak� than we have for wine.

For example, Sak� can be sweet or dry, but they have the SMV (Sak� Meter Value), which basically rates how sweet or dry it is. For example, a +7 would be very dry, while a -1 would be mildly sweet. Wine could be rated in this manner as well.

There are even special terms for when you are drinking. Something appropriate for our weather forecast for this evening is "Yukimi-Zake." This is drinking Sak� while watching the snow falling. Such a poetic turn of phrase, which we lack in English.

Tom Johnson said...

I don't like a lot of minerality. It's a bad taste to me and makes the finish unpleasant, and in large doses it just ruins a wine. One of the few few bottles of wine my wife and I weren't able to finish was a local white that was good in so many ways but the minerality just ruined it. We left half the bottle in the trash.

I haven't had a lot of bad experiences in the $20-50 range, at least not in terms of the wine being actually bad. I've been disappointed, however. Most recently, I tasted the 2008 The Prisoner by Orin Swift. There was nothing impressive about it. It was just a regular old wine at about $40 a bottle and I felt like I'd been swindled by good marketing.

The Wine Whore said...

Kate, nothing is worse than an imbalanced wine. I would say that you hit on two important parts of balance in wine: tannins and alcohol. What's the last bottle of wine that you tasted which had this type of imbalance?

Why is it that wine is lacking such poetic descriptives, Richard? Any idea? Is it just that our language is too simple.. or is it just a cultural thing? I'd also like to try rating based on that SMV scale... is there a specific breakdown of sugar quantity or is just based on taste?

Tom, I almost bought a bottle of that Orion Swift last week... luckily I was saved at the last minute. I'll tell the whole story later this afternoon. But first, I have to ask, how would you describe "minerality" in wine? I think I know what you mean, but I also tend to confuse minerality with a sort of metallic taste that I find on the finish of many wines... is this the same thing you were tasting?


Rachel said...

Wow, WW...you really took it and ran with this one! The "describe what you don't like approach" is a brilliant way approach wine. It will make what you do like that much more apparent.

Here's mine: I don't like sweet wine.

Richard Auffrey said...

I think it may be mostly a cultural thing.

A hydrometer is used to derive the SMV. I dont know all the science behind it, but know they use hydrometers for wine too. I suspect the Sake SMV could be applied to wine too, but would need someone with a deeper knowledge of the chemistry involved to really verify.

The Wine Whore said...

Thank you Rachel! I really can't take any credit on this one, you were the real muse and mind behind this post! :)

It's funny you mention it, because I don't usually like sweet wine... until last week when I tried a Sauternes with a big hunk of stinky blue cheese. It was like funk and mold melting in your mouth... I know that sounds gross but it somehow worked! What types of sweet wine have you tried?

LOL! I actually have a degree in Chemistry but still can't remember how a hyrdometer works! Maybe I should have focused more on studying than drinking! :)

I'll do some research on this one!


Rachel said...

I hate Rose of any kind. There was a semillon/dessert wine from Monticello vineyards that I liked but I don't know if I'd like it now. I think these perceptions and opinions, like wine, change with age. You gotta respect the cheese. Sauterne, huh?

The Wine Whore said...

That's a great point... I remember when I didn't like much red wine because I thought it tasted "harsh"... over time, I grew to love red wines and even sought out fuller bodied and more tannic wines. Doesn't food kinda go that way too? I remember when I was younger hating to eat asparagus, and now I can't get enough of the stuff!

Funny how things change!

The cheese/Sauterne combo was very cool... I never would have thought to put the two together but it was well worth it.

What's the strangest food/wine pairing you ever tried that actually tasted GOOD?


Kate said...

My most recent "bad wine" was a BV Napa Zinfindel. Ugh. It was all tannins and almost instantly gave me a red wine headache.

Not too long ago, I went to a wine tasting (i posted about it my blog - LLoco winery). I really wanted to like their wines, but honestly, their Chardonnay tasted like an Appletini with too much vodka.

My wackiest food pairing was Champagne and Sushi. Yum.

The Wine Whore said...

I remember that post! If you haven't seen this one, I encourage everyone to check it out... it was a great post on what not to do when making a Chard! :)

Oh yeah, Champagne and Sushi rocks! Don't you just love the refreshing fizz paired with the texture and taste of the sushi?

I have a real problem with wasabi... can't seem to know when I've gotten carried away. Everytime I eat sushi, it looks like I am depressed because I am always crying from that wasabi kick! :)


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