Talking Wine – April 2022

Being a wine merchant I am often asked “what is your favourite wine?”. My reply is simply that I don’t have one and wine is all about occasion and people. However increasingly I have come to the conclusion that to really enjoy and appreciate a wine you have to be at home or somewhere suitably relaxing and be in a position to concentrate on what you are drinking.

As a sociable sort of bloke, I often feel that buying an expensive wine in a restaurant is foolhardy. Firstly, you are paying way over the odds for the wine ( no criticism of the restaurant – running costs are horrendous) but almost more importantly you are so busy chatting, watching, making decisions etc that it is almost impossible to concentrate of what you are drinking. It needs to be pleasant, vaguely go with the dish you have chosen and slip down quietly. At home, on the other hand, you can decant the wine, ensure it is at the right temperature and chose a good quality wine glass – the latter being vital when drinking something special. There need be few distractions and you can savour every mouthful. There may be opportunities to discuss the wine with a like-minded partner or just revel in the fact that you can selfishly enjoy the entire bottle.

I recently went to a party where the host had chosen a delightful selection of wines, but I came away from that lovely occasion with little or no recollection of the wine we drank. I knew it was good – I knew the bottles – but I was making polite conversation and enjoying the company too much to really give it a second thought. Am I alone in this thinking?

So back to “what is your favourite wine”?

I am solidly back in Europe with my choices. Nothing with much oak please. Nothing so ridiculously heavy that you can stand up a spoon in it! Something representing the true characteristics of the grape. I like a touch of spice in my reds – I want fruit in my white. I want it to be pure, dry and clean. I have choices but I cannot be specific. Mood plays a part in your appreciation, expectation is dangerous, surprise is delightful.

One thing to remember – reputation and cost is no guarantee for quality or pleasure. Listen , take advice and experiment without having to secure a mortgage. Wine is simple -don’t be a pretentious git!!