Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

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Michael S. Monie
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#51 Post by Michael S. Monie » January 8th, 2019, 3:22 pm

Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Michael S. Monie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 1:20 pm
For me, the disparity in quality is most evident with Bordeaux. After you have had great (dare I say profound bottles) it's hard to be satisfied with the merely good ones. Of course since I've never had a great red Burgundy, I'm only speculating, but I wouldn't surprised if the disparity is even more apparent.
Question: if you had started your wine journey with only "profound" bottles, would they have still been "profound?" If you only continued on with "profound" wines, would they have remained "profound?" Did the wine's profundity require a context, or would it have been equally "profound" on your 21st birthday as your first taste of wine?

That's the question I see.

Would the greatest sex of your life (or the greatest pizza) be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex (or pizza?) [cheers.gif]
I would guess that most enthusiast remember their first "ah ha" moment with wine. And yes I would assume that for the majority this recognition was largely due to what had preceded. Now I don't assume that the awakening of how much better this is than what I've had previously is necessarily because the wine was profound, just significantly more rewarding than the earlier wines. If the first wine to have ever touch my lips had been an 89 Haut Brion, and considering that I was actually paying attention, not just drinking, I probably would not have thought of it as profound, but more likely damn good juice. Having had so many Bordeaux prior to when I finally did have an 89 Haut Brion, my perception was that of profundity. Assuming that all the bottles of 89 Haut Brion that I might subsequently drink were of the same caliber of that one that I had, I can't imagine considering them anything less than profound.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#52 Post by jeffruggels » January 8th, 2019, 3:32 pm

Anton - cannot opine on the bordeaux question as I did not start at profound and only stay there.

re: sex and pizza, no they would not

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#53 Post by Howard Cooper » January 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm

A few thoughts.

1. Not anymore. I have been drinking wine for a long time and probably don't need to try any more lesser wines to appreciate the great ones. Looking at the word do - if it is interpreted to mean present and future tense - the answer now is no.

2. How do I avoid lesser wines? I mean, most of us live in the real world. We go to parties with friends who are not wine geeks. We go to dinner at restaurants where the people we are with are not wine geeks, they want us to pick a bottle of wine from the wine list and the wine list either has nothing even approaching good or nothing within a price range you would pay at the restaurant approaching good. I have had experiences where we were at a friend's house and they bring out a bottle of wine "because they know I like wine" and the wine was a cheap wine that probably was opened several months ago. Avoiding lesser wines and even poor wines is really difficult. And, I am not even discussing expensive lesser wines.

3. To me, there are two types of great wines. First, the big names - first growth Bordeauxs, grand cru Burgs, Ridge Monte Bello, etc. Second, there is the really good simpler wine that is just a joy to drink. For example, Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge, Bernard Moreau Bourgogne Blanc, Cotat Rose, etc., etc., etc. To me, it is easier for a less experienced wine lover to love the first category because they are big and rich and complex, etc. It is simple to see the greatness in these wines. It takes more experience I believe to see the great bottle of a simpler wine that just really hits the spot and is an excellent value and puts to shame all the similarly priced wines that provide a fraction (if that) of the enjoyment of the wines I often love. That is really where all the junk out there really makes you appreciate the art that went into the great, simpler wine.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#54 Post by Anton D » January 8th, 2019, 3:58 pm

Michael S. Monie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:22 pm
Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Michael S. Monie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 1:20 pm
For me, the disparity in quality is most evident with Bordeaux. After you have had great (dare I say profound bottles) it's hard to be satisfied with the merely good ones. Of course since I've never had a great red Burgundy, I'm only speculating, but I wouldn't surprised if the disparity is even more apparent.
Question: if you had started your wine journey with only "profound" bottles, would they have still been "profound?" If you only continued on with "profound" wines, would they have remained "profound?" Did the wine's profundity require a context, or would it have been equally "profound" on your 21st birthday as your first taste of wine?

That's the question I see.

Would the greatest sex of your life (or the greatest pizza) be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex (or pizza?) [cheers.gif]
I would guess that most enthusiast remember their first "ah ha" moment with wine. And yes I would assume that for the majority this recognition was largely due to what had preceded. Now I don't assume that the awakening of how much better this is than what I've had previously is necessarily because the wine was profound, just significantly more rewarding than the earlier wines. If the first wine to have ever touch my lips had been an 89 Haut Brion, and considering that I was actually paying attention, not just drinking, I probably would not have thought of it as profound, but more likely damn good juice. Having had so many Bordeaux prior to when I finally did have an 89 Haut Brion, my perception was that of profundity. Assuming that all the bottles of 89 Haut Brion that I might subsequently drink were of the same caliber of that one that I had, I can't imagine considering them anything less than profound.
We agree! [wow.gif]

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#55 Post by Michael S. Monie » January 8th, 2019, 4:28 pm

If you want to get into the whole "if a tree falls in the forest" thing, and I assume that you don't, can a wine have intrinsic profundity or is it always contingent on the palate of the imbiber?
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#56 Post by Marcus Dean » January 8th, 2019, 4:37 pm

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm
A few thoughts.

1. Not anymore. I have been drinking wine for a long time and probably don't need to try any more lesser wines to appreciate the great ones. Looking at the word do - if it is interpreted to mean present and future tense - the answer now is no.

2. How do I avoid lesser wines? I mean, most of us live in the real world. We go to parties with friends who are not wine geeks. We go to dinner at restaurants where the people we are with are not wine geeks, they want us to pick a bottle of wine from the wine list and the wine list either has nothing even approaching good or nothing within a price range you would pay at the restaurant approaching good. I have had experiences where we were at a friend's house and they bring out a bottle of wine "because they know I like wine" and the wine was a cheap wine that probably was opened several months ago. Avoiding lesser wines and even poor wines is really difficult. And, I am not even discussing expensive lesser wines.

3. To me, there are two types of great wines. First, the big names - first growth Bordeauxs, grand cru Burgs, Ridge Monte Bello, etc. Second, there is the really good simpler wine that is just a joy to drink. For example, Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge, Bernard Moreau Bourgogne Blanc, Cotat Rose, etc., etc., etc. To me, it is easier for a less experienced wine lover to love the first category because they are big and rich and complex, etc. It is simple to see the greatness in these wines. It takes more experience I believe to see the great bottle of a simpler wine that just really hits the spot and is an excellent value and puts to shame all the similarly priced wines that provide a fraction (if that) of the enjoyment of the wines I often love. That is really where all the junk out there really makes you appreciate the art that went into the great, simpler wine.
Really good post Howard, Thank you for your articulation

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#57 Post by Dan Kravitz » January 8th, 2019, 5:15 pm

This whole board, if not the whole industry, is based on the presumption that there are greater and lesser wines, and that you will experience both.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#58 Post by Howard Cooper » January 8th, 2019, 5:30 pm

Marcus Dean wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:37 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm
A few thoughts.

1. Not anymore. I have been drinking wine for a long time and probably don't need to try any more lesser wines to appreciate the great ones. Looking at the word do - if it is interpreted to mean present and future tense - the answer now is no.

2. How do I avoid lesser wines? I mean, most of us live in the real world. We go to parties with friends who are not wine geeks. We go to dinner at restaurants where the people we are with are not wine geeks, they want us to pick a bottle of wine from the wine list and the wine list either has nothing even approaching good or nothing within a price range you would pay at the restaurant approaching good. I have had experiences where we were at a friend's house and they bring out a bottle of wine "because they know I like wine" and the wine was a cheap wine that probably was opened several months ago. Avoiding lesser wines and even poor wines is really difficult. And, I am not even discussing expensive lesser wines.

3. To me, there are two types of great wines. First, the big names - first growth Bordeauxs, grand cru Burgs, Ridge Monte Bello, etc. Second, there is the really good simpler wine that is just a joy to drink. For example, Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge, Bernard Moreau Bourgogne Blanc, Cotat Rose, etc., etc., etc. To me, it is easier for a less experienced wine lover to love the first category because they are big and rich and complex, etc. It is simple to see the greatness in these wines. It takes more experience I believe to see the great bottle of a simpler wine that just really hits the spot and is an excellent value and puts to shame all the similarly priced wines that provide a fraction (if that) of the enjoyment of the wines I often love. That is really where all the junk out there really makes you appreciate the art that went into the great, simpler wine.
Really good post Howard, Thank you for your articulation
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#59 Post by Jayson Cohen » January 8th, 2019, 5:36 pm

Marcus Dean wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:37 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm
A few thoughts.

1. Not anymore. I have been drinking wine for a long time and probably don't need to try any more lesser wines to appreciate the great ones. Looking at the word do - if it is interpreted to mean present and future tense - the answer now is no.

2. How do I avoid lesser wines? I mean, most of us live in the real world. We go to parties with friends who are not wine geeks. We go to dinner at restaurants where the people we are with are not wine geeks, they want us to pick a bottle of wine from the wine list and the wine list either has nothing even approaching good or nothing within a price range you would pay at the restaurant approaching good. I have had experiences where we were at a friend's house and they bring out a bottle of wine "because they know I like wine" and the wine was a cheap wine that probably was opened several months ago. Avoiding lesser wines and even poor wines is really difficult. And, I am not even discussing expensive lesser wines.

3. To me, there are two types of great wines. First, the big names - first growth Bordeauxs, grand cru Burgs, Ridge Monte Bello, etc. Second, there is the really good simpler wine that is just a joy to drink. For example, Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge, Bernard Moreau Bourgogne Blanc, Cotat Rose, etc., etc., etc. To me, it is easier for a less experienced wine lover to love the first category because they are big and rich and complex, etc. It is simple to see the greatness in these wines. It takes more experience I believe to see the great bottle of a simpler wine that just really hits the spot and is an excellent value and puts to shame all the similarly priced wines that provide a fraction (if that) of the enjoyment of the wines I often love. That is really where all the junk out there really makes you appreciate the art that went into the great, simpler wine.
Really good post Howard, Thank you for your articulation
Yes. Nice post. But, Howard, you accidentally put Cotat Rose in the wrong category. ;)

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#60 Post by Anton D » January 8th, 2019, 5:48 pm

Man, I think 'lesser wines' can be awesome.

Does anybody else enjoy seeing what kind of work a favorite wine maker managed to come up with in down vintages?

I love seeing what technique and skill can do with off vintages or limited resources. I don't need every year to be vintage and wine of the century to give me loads of entertainment and enjoyment.

Confession: Ultra sorting has made wine a little less interesting, to me. There is a sameness that can be a drag.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#61 Post by Kirk.Grant » January 8th, 2019, 6:04 pm

Hell yes...my fiancé is living proof of that.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#62 Post by Brian G r a f s t r o m » January 8th, 2019, 10:34 pm

It's important to recognize that *some* of the "profundity" associated with experiencing something "great" for the first time is derived from it being the first time. In other words, it's a more profound experience the first time you have that excellent wine than it is the tenth time you have it, everything else being equal.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#63 Post by Scott Brunson » January 9th, 2019, 3:24 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:02 am
David Glasser wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 8:48 am
At some point, yes, for a point of reference. But once you’ve got adequate experience, it doesn’t have to be repeated regularly to continue to appreciate the great ones.
One of the great advantages of being in a blind tasting group for the last 21 years is that I taste stuff from up and down the quality ladder on a regular basis. The experience is both humbling and educational. It has kept me grounded in the broader world of wine, rather than just the narrow focus of wines I choose to buy.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#64 Post by Steve Slatcher » January 9th, 2019, 5:01 am

Drinking good quality cheaper wine only makes me question more and more why I bother with expensive ones, which often disappoint. That certainly gjves me a sense of perspective. But which are the "lesser" wines here?

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#65 Post by Daniel McIntosh » January 9th, 2019, 7:20 am

Steve Slatcher wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:01 am
Drinking good quality cheaper wine only makes me question more and more why I bother with expensive ones, which often disappoint. That certainly gjves me a sense of perspective. But which are the "lesser" wines here?
Indeed. I like a great wine as much as anyone but I far more appreciate and seek out the very decent $15 bottle.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#66 Post by Jay Miller » January 9th, 2019, 7:24 am

I'd say it is necessary to have tasted vintages across a range of styles to get a handle on what you like but once you've done that you don't have to keep buying vintages that you think you won't enjoy as much.

For example I'm glad to have tasted (and therefore have an opinion on ) multiple 2004 burgundies even though it's arguably the worst vintage of the last 30 years. however if another 2004 came around I would not be a buyer. Even if I was still buying Burgundy.

Sometimes a village wine can be heartbreakingly beautiful even if it doesn't have the depth or complexity of a grand cru.

I don't think anyone would claim that dandelions are more beautiful than roses but sometimes a field full of dandelions in the spring can take your breath away. And wouldn't be improved by replacing them with rose bushes.


This is, of course, different from wines that are actually poorly made (e.g., Christian Confuron to continue with the Burgundy examples). There the only advantage to tasting them is to know to avoid them in the future.


Which leads me to the reverse and to me perhaps more interesting question - do you need to drink great wines to appreciate the lesser ones? I'm inclined to say yes to that one. I find that I appreciate and enjoy village wines more for having tried the "greater" grand crus.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#67 Post by Robert Sand » January 9th, 2019, 7:32 am

I do always prefer a "lesser" (but good) wine opened at full maturity than a "great" wine far too young, maybe closed and showing more structure than anything else.
In my opinion it is not a sign of a well educated wine geek when opening "big names" but at the wrong moment. It is far more difficult to present wines, may they be of lesser origin or not, at the perfect time and with careful preparation.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#68 Post by Richard Albert » January 9th, 2019, 8:05 am

Anton, there may be answer to your question, the truth may be out there; perhaps a member of the British Royal family(or others of elite/sheltered/rarified elevage) before venturing out into the world of non specially purveyed/selected royal wines may have the answer.


Wading through the semantic variations, I believe yes to OP's question.
Thinking horizontally, what if you were only exposed to Bordeaux and developed your greatness scale and someone provided your first glass of Burgundy, a very good one with strong, admirable traits; would it, could it be a great one as your first exposure? Or, would it just be different?
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#69 Post by GregT » January 9th, 2019, 8:25 am

Mark Golodetz wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 11:48 am
Great discussion. Jeff asked my thoughts; I absolutely think you need context, but what the definition and the quality of that context is interesting.

The topic came up when one of my guests mentioned a very wealthy acquaintance who had just got into wine. He decided to go on a yearlong buying spree accumulating (and drinking) First Growths from top vintages, as well as large amounts of great Burgundy, starting with DRC and going on to Roumier, Coche, Rousseau etc etc. The question was whether just drinking top wines young and old could give him that context or should he have drunk their lesser wines, years or lesser producers?
I've known people like that and suspect there are various versions of that on this board. Someone becomes interested in wine, is told that he should like Burgundy and decides that's it, he's going to be a Burgundy head. Or Barolo or Bordeaux or whatever. And then that becomes their reference point for everything. Those people usually bore me, and of course I suppose I bore them too. But their conversations tend to be about how this bottle isn't showing quite as nicely as the one they had last month, or it's really good but you know it's going to be better in three years, and there's little curiosity about anything other than that narrow field.

And those people are sad in a way, because they've bought into someone else's world view and have adopted it as their own. So much easier than figuring things out yourself. For your friend's friend, I would suggest just learning about wine in general, rather than accumulating things someone else might value.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#70 Post by Craig G » January 9th, 2019, 8:37 am

Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Would the greatest sex of your life be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex?
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#71 Post by Howard Cooper » January 9th, 2019, 8:41 am

Jayson Cohen wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 5:36 pm
Marcus Dean wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:37 pm
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:45 pm
A few thoughts.

1. Not anymore. I have been drinking wine for a long time and probably don't need to try any more lesser wines to appreciate the great ones. Looking at the word do - if it is interpreted to mean present and future tense - the answer now is no.

2. How do I avoid lesser wines? I mean, most of us live in the real world. We go to parties with friends who are not wine geeks. We go to dinner at restaurants where the people we are with are not wine geeks, they want us to pick a bottle of wine from the wine list and the wine list either has nothing even approaching good or nothing within a price range you would pay at the restaurant approaching good. I have had experiences where we were at a friend's house and they bring out a bottle of wine "because they know I like wine" and the wine was a cheap wine that probably was opened several months ago. Avoiding lesser wines and even poor wines is really difficult. And, I am not even discussing expensive lesser wines.

3. To me, there are two types of great wines. First, the big names - first growth Bordeauxs, grand cru Burgs, Ridge Monte Bello, etc. Second, there is the really good simpler wine that is just a joy to drink. For example, Hudelot-Noellat Bourgogne Rouge, Bernard Moreau Bourgogne Blanc, Cotat Rose, etc., etc., etc. To me, it is easier for a less experienced wine lover to love the first category because they are big and rich and complex, etc. It is simple to see the greatness in these wines. It takes more experience I believe to see the great bottle of a simpler wine that just really hits the spot and is an excellent value and puts to shame all the similarly priced wines that provide a fraction (if that) of the enjoyment of the wines I often love. That is really where all the junk out there really makes you appreciate the art that went into the great, simpler wine.
Really good post Howard, Thank you for your articulation
Yes. Nice post. But, Howard, you accidentally put Cotat Rose in the wrong category. ;)
Not sure, but it really makes my point where it is, doesn't it? [cheers.gif]
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#72 Post by Howard Cooper » January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am

Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#73 Post by Julian Marshall » January 9th, 2019, 9:08 am

Howard, your post is spot on.

Of course, to really appreciate a good bottle of Bordeaux, you have to taste one of those under-ripe reds they produce in the Loire valley. Luckily, most are now bought and hoarded by a weird swamp-living hermit in Florida, who looks like Luke Skywalker in Episode VIII (rumour has it that he hurls perfectly good bottles of St.Emilion at alligators, shouting about the Dark Side).

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#74 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » January 9th, 2019, 9:24 am

Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Michael S. Monie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 1:20 pm
For me, the disparity in quality is most evident with Bordeaux. After you have had great (dare I say profound bottles) it's hard to be satisfied with the merely good ones. Of course since I've never had a great red Burgundy, I'm only speculating, but I wouldn't surprised if the disparity is even more apparent.
Question: if you had started your wine journey with only "profound" bottles, would they have still been "profound?" If you only continued on with "profound" wines, would they have remained "profound?" Did the wine's profundity require a context, or would it have been equally "profound" on your 21st birthday as your first taste of wine?

That's the question I see.

Would the greatest sex of your life (or the greatest pizza) be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex (or pizza?) [cheers.gif]
I am pretty sure that I can be ok with some lesser sex too. Same goes for pizza.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#75 Post by Robert Sand » January 9th, 2019, 9:31 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:24 am


I am pretty sure that I can be ok with some lesser sex too. Same goes for pizza.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#76 Post by Chris Seiber » January 9th, 2019, 9:42 am

Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:32 am
I have yet to meet a fellow oenophile who started with only great wines and stayed the course of never having lesser wines.

I'd say having tasted a variety of wines leads one to understand what one considers great, necessitating that one have worked one's way through 'lesser wines.'

Therefore, having had 'lesser' wines is paramount to discovering what one regards as great wines.
I think probably 0% of us have made it to this point without having had a great many experiences of drinking lesser wines.

So the question rephrases then to be "Do you need to continue drinking lesser wines to appreciate the great ones." That is a tougher question.

I guess my answer would be this:

(1) I don't think you need to adhere to a deliberate regimen of drinking one bottle of $20 Bourgogne for every Premier or Grand Cru in order to continue appreciating the latter, and if you are blessed with the means and the cellar to drink mostly high quality wines (and who knows how many years each of us has left to drink them), then I don't think there is anything wrong with doing so, or that you will lose your appreciation for them.

(2) But I think you will probably appreciate the good and great wines more if you have them as part of a varied overall experience of wine. Not just varied as to price point and quality, but varied as to grapes, regions, age, style, and so forth.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#77 Post by D@vid Bu3ker » January 9th, 2019, 9:45 am

Funny note - on the main page for all the sub-forums the title of this topic is cut off at "Do you need to drink less"
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#78 Post by Chris Seiber » January 9th, 2019, 9:49 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
I recall an episode of the Canadian sitcom "Corner Gas," when a couple goes to another couple's house and are served a more expensive wine than the one they normally drink, then they go back the next night to the wine they had always had and discover that they don't like it anymore. I think the woman exclaimed in dismay that "We've been upgraded!!"

That's true of many things. At one point in our lives, an inexpensive choice sirloin with A1 sauce on it was a special treat.

I wonder about that with my kids (age 10 and 14). They have been upgraded by my tastes and cooking, so my son is used to eating prime ribeye and so forth nowadays. It's probably not ideal, but then, I'm only on this planet for so long, and I don't want to eat London Broil for dinner on Saturday night just so I won't spoil my kids. What are you going to do?

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#79 Post by Anton D » January 9th, 2019, 9:50 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
Hi Fi works the same way.

[cheers.gif]
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#80 Post by Anton D » January 9th, 2019, 9:52 am

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:24 am
Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Michael S. Monie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 1:20 pm
For me, the disparity in quality is most evident with Bordeaux. After you have had great (dare I say profound bottles) it's hard to be satisfied with the merely good ones. Of course since I've never had a great red Burgundy, I'm only speculating, but I wouldn't surprised if the disparity is even more apparent.
Question: if you had started your wine journey with only "profound" bottles, would they have still been "profound?" If you only continued on with "profound" wines, would they have remained "profound?" Did the wine's profundity require a context, or would it have been equally "profound" on your 21st birthday as your first taste of wine?

That's the question I see.

Would the greatest sex of your life (or the greatest pizza) be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex (or pizza?) [cheers.gif]
I am pretty sure that I can be ok with some lesser sex too. Same goes for pizza.

champagne.gif
You know why sex is like pizza?
Click to see spoiler:
Because even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#81 Post by Anton D » January 9th, 2019, 9:54 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:49 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
I recall an episode of the Canadian sitcom "Corner Gas," when a couple goes to another couple's house and are served a more expensive wine than the one they normally drink, then they go back the next night to the wine they had always had and discover that they don't like it anymore. I think the woman exclaimed in dismay that "We've been upgraded!!"

That's true of many things. At one point in our lives, an inexpensive choice sirloin with A1 sauce on it was a special treat.

I wonder about that with my kids (age 10 and 14). They have been upgraded by my tastes and cooking, so my son is used to eating prime ribeye and so forth nowadays. It's probably not ideal, but then, I'm only on this planet for so long, and I don't want to eat London Broil for dinner on Saturday night just so I won't spoil my kids. What are you going to do?
That's awesome.

We have 'strived' to wreck our kids' and nieces' and nephews' palates. Now, they are out 'wrecking' their friends' palates...yay!
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#82 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » January 9th, 2019, 9:59 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:42 am
Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:32 am
I have yet to meet a fellow oenophile who started with only great wines and stayed the course of never having lesser wines.

I'd say having tasted a variety of wines leads one to understand what one considers great, necessitating that one have worked one's way through 'lesser wines.'

Therefore, having had 'lesser' wines is paramount to discovering what one regards as great wines.
I think probably 0% of us have made it to this point without having had a great many experiences of drinking lesser wines.

So the question rephrases then to be "Do you need to continue drinking lesser wines to appreciate the great ones." That is a tougher question.

I guess my answer would be this:

(1) I don't think you need to adhere to a deliberate regimen of drinking one bottle of $20 Bourgogne for every Premier or Grand Cru in order to continue appreciating the latter, and if you are blessed with the means and the cellar to drink mostly high quality wines (and who knows how many years each of us has left to drink them), then I don't think there is anything wrong with doing so, or that you will lose your appreciation for them.

(2) But I think you will probably appreciate the good and great wines more if you have them as part of a varied overall experience of wine. Not just varied as to price point and quality, but varied as to grapes, regions, age, style, and so forth.
I think both of these are spot on.

I don’t set out to drink a bottle of $20 wine for every elite wine that I drink, but over the course of life a lot of average-good-surprisingly great bottles cross my path. I can’t imagine declining to taste because of perceived stature(and it is just perceived until we taste it). If it’s not to my liking, I have no problem declining a second taste, but I have a lot of what I consider to be “great” wines in my cellar from time spent sharing a glass of a “lesser” wine(both from being shocked at how great the “lesser” wine actually was, and from shooting the breeze with another wine lover over a decent glass.)
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#83 Post by lleichtman » January 9th, 2019, 10:38 am

Scott Brunson wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 3:24 am
D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:02 am
David Glasser wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 8:48 am
At some point, yes, for a point of reference. But once you’ve got adequate experience, it doesn’t have to be repeated regularly to continue to appreciate the great ones.
One of the great advantages of being in a blind tasting group for the last 21 years is that I taste stuff from up and down the quality ladder on a regular basis. The experience is both humbling and educational. It has kept me grounded in the broader world of wine, rather than just the narrow focus of wines I choose to buy.
this
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#84 Post by Jayson Cohen » January 9th, 2019, 10:52 am

Jay Miller wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 7:24 am
Which leads me to the reverse and to me perhaps more interesting question - do you need to drink great wines to appreciate the lesser ones? I'm inclined to say yes to that one. I find that I appreciate and enjoy village wines more for having tried the "greater" grand crus.
I think yes. And it’s a more important Q in a broader sense for people here, who generally don’t drink really “lesser” wines in a meaningful way. No one here really cares about Yellow Tail, but folks here certainly do compare say the greatest versions of Syrah like Chave Hermitage or Verset / Allemand Cornas to Crozes or St. Joseph (arguably lesser wines). If I didn’t know Chave Hermitage or Verset / Allemand Cornas, I wouldn’t know how to put say even a very very good wine like Gonon St. Joseph into perspective in comparison with other St. Joseph. If I didn’t know what Donnhoff has achieved in his single vineyard wines, I’m not sure I’d appreciate as much how good the “lowly” domaine Riesling is.

But this gets more into the weeds on defining “lesser” wine, which is a point of ambiguity in this thread as noted by others above.

Also many of the other comments in the thread address this question already by stressing that experience and context matter. More knowledge, more experience gives you a basis for multivariate comparisons.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#85 Post by Howard Cooper » January 9th, 2019, 11:37 am

Julian Marshall wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:08 am
Howard, your post is spot on.

Of course, to really appreciate a good bottle of Bordeaux, you have to taste one of those under-ripe reds they produce in the Loire valley. Luckily, most are now bought and hoarded by a weird swamp-living hermit in Florida, who looks like Luke Skywalker in Episode VIII (rumour has it that he hurls perfectly good bottles of St.Emilion at alligators, shouting about the Dark Side).
I understand that he hurls these bottles from the seat of a very expensive bicycle while wearing a really nice watch and shoes. [cheers.gif]
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#86 Post by Anton D » January 9th, 2019, 11:40 am

Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 11:37 am
Julian Marshall wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:08 am
Howard, your post is spot on.

Of course, to really appreciate a good bottle of Bordeaux, you have to taste one of those under-ripe reds they produce in the Loire valley. Luckily, most are now bought and hoarded by a weird swamp-living hermit in Florida, who looks like Luke Skywalker in Episode VIII (rumour has it that he hurls perfectly good bottles of St.Emilion at alligators, shouting about the Dark Side).
I understand that he hurls these bottles from the seat of a very expensive bicycle while wearing a really nice watch and shoes. [cheers.gif]
Is that the guy with calf implants and his business' phone number on his 'cycling jersey?'
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#87 Post by Howard Cooper » January 9th, 2019, 11:45 am

Chris Seiber wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:49 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
I recall an episode of the Canadian sitcom "Corner Gas," when a couple goes to another couple's house and are served a more expensive wine than the one they normally drink, then they go back the next night to the wine they had always had and discover that they don't like it anymore. I think the woman exclaimed in dismay that "We've been upgraded!!"

That's true of many things. At one point in our lives, an inexpensive choice sirloin with A1 sauce on it was a special treat.

I wonder about that with my kids (age 10 and 14). They have been upgraded by my tastes and cooking, so my son is used to eating prime ribeye and so forth nowadays. It's probably not ideal, but then, I'm only on this planet for so long, and I don't want to eat London Broil for dinner on Saturday night just so I won't spoil my kids. What are you going to do?
At different times both my daughter and the husband of my neice (now my nephew) told me that they did not like Chardonnay. It was mostly based on overoaked modern chardonnay. I gave them white Burgundy to try. Cannot remember the wine with my daughter but with my nephew it was a Sauzet premier cru Puligny Montrachet (not sure of the vineyard or vintage). The wines opened their eyes and now, for my daughter at least, her favorite wine is white Burgundy (including Chablis). Did I help them or ruin them. I would go with helped them because they did NOT like Chardonnay before.

PS. As a side note, on their honeymoon, my neice and nephew went to Germany. They asked me to recommend a winery or two to visit and I gave them a few recommendations. They visited Donnhoff - which I think is now his favorite winery.
Howard

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#88 Post by Dave McCloskey » January 9th, 2019, 11:47 am

D@vid Bu3ker wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 10:02 am
David Glasser wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 8:48 am
At some point, yes, for a point of reference. But once you’ve got adequate experience, it doesn’t have to be repeated regularly to continue to appreciate the great ones.
One of the great advantages of being in a blind tasting group for the last 21 years is that I taste stuff from up and down the quality ladder on a regular basis. The experience is both humbling and educational. It has kept me grounded in the broader world of wine, rather than just the narrow focus of wines I choose to buy.
Great comment and consider yourself lucky. I've belonged to a wine club for about the past 7 or 8 years and have never been involved in a blind tasting. Although I hatching a plan to bring a brown bagged bottle and see if anyone can guess where it comes from and the varietal.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#89 Post by Jim Stewart » January 9th, 2019, 12:03 pm

Chris Seiber wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:49 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
I recall an episode of the Canadian sitcom "Corner Gas," when a couple goes to another couple's house and are served a more expensive wine than the one they normally drink, then they go back the next night to the wine they had always had and discover that they don't like it anymore. I think the woman exclaimed in dismay that "We've been upgraded!!"

That's true of many things. At one point in our lives, an inexpensive choice sirloin with A1 sauce on it was a special treat.

I wonder about that with my kids (age 10 and 14). They have been upgraded by my tastes and cooking, so my son is used to eating prime ribeye and so forth nowadays. It's probably not ideal, but then, I'm only on this planet for so long, and I don't want to eat London Broil for dinner on Saturday night just so I won't spoil my kids. What are you going to do?
good stuff, Chris

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#90 Post by Jay Miller » January 9th, 2019, 12:12 pm

Anton D wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:50 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
Hi Fi works the same way.

[cheers.gif]
And kitchen knives.
Ripe fruit isn't necessarily a flaw.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#91 Post by Mike Grammer » January 9th, 2019, 2:33 pm

Craig G wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:37 am
Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Would the greatest sex of your life be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex?
It’s none of your business what I do when I’m alone.
I'm still looking for the YouTube channel, Craig. Aliases? :)

Jay M's question---do you need to drink great wines to appreciate the lesser ones--is one I like too.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#92 Post by Mattstolz » January 9th, 2019, 2:59 pm

this question is something that can't ever have a single answer. because for that to happen, you would first be able to have an objective single answer for "what makes a wine a great wine?"

since that answer will vary wildly for everyone, so will the answer to the OP. for example, most people are using DRC as an example of a "great" wine. What if you don't like DRC? Most are using First growths as an example, but what if it doesn't resonate with your palate? What if you like young wines more than old ones? if you actually would like California Pinot more than Burgundy but all you buy is DRC, then you missed the boat.

I guess this would kind of put me into the "yes" category. I think eventually you have to be reminded of WHY you appreciate the wines you consider great. at the same time, if something resonates with you, you should drink that.

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#93 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » January 9th, 2019, 9:15 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 12:12 pm
Anton D wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:50 am
Howard Cooper wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:46 am
Now for a different point of view. Someone once said to me that I should never have tasted a wine selling for more than $5 a bottle (this was probably 20 years ago so maybe $10 or $15 today). He said that if I had never had a bottle costing more than $5, I would be very happy with the wines I was drinking and drink happily while spending a modest amount of money. But, once I tasted better wines, I was lost - spending more money for wine and could not go back to the cheaper wine because now it tasted cheaper.
Hi Fi works the same way.

[cheers.gif]
And kitchen knives.
+1
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#94 Post by Marcus Goodfellow » January 9th, 2019, 9:38 pm

Jay Miller wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 7:24 am
I'd say it is necessary to have tasted vintages across a range of styles to get a handle on what you like but once you've done that you don't have to keep buying vintages that you think you won't enjoy as much.

For example I'm glad to have tasted (and therefore have an opinion on ) multiple 2004 burgundies even though it's arguably the worst vintage of the last 30 years. however if another 2004 came around I would not be a buyer. Even if I was still buying Burgundy.

Sometimes a village wine can be heartbreakingly beautiful even if it doesn't have the depth or complexity of a grand cru.

I don't think anyone would claim that dandelions are more beautiful than roses but sometimes a field full of dandelions in the spring can take your breath away. And wouldn't be improved by replacing them with rose bushes.


This is, of course, different from wines that are actually poorly made (e.g., Christian Confuron to continue with the Burgundy examples). There the only advantage to tasting them is to know to avoid them in the future.


Which leads me to the reverse and to me perhaps more interesting question - do you need to drink great wines to appreciate the lesser ones? I'm inclined to say yes to that one. I find that I appreciate and enjoy village wines more for having tried the "greater" grand crus.
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Great post,as beautiful as butterflies are, I prefer moths.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#95 Post by John Glas » January 10th, 2019, 3:34 pm

yes. There are so many good wines out there under $30 I like but are not as great as some of the best wines I ever tasted however for the price point and enjoyment they are wonderful. It is fun to try a wine that is around $50 that is a 95 for my palate. Those wines I can afford!

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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#96 Post by Anton D » January 10th, 2019, 3:42 pm

Mike Grammer wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 2:33 pm
Craig G wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 8:37 am
Anton D wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 3:00 pm
Would the greatest sex of your life be as 'profound' without the 'lesser' sex?
It’s none of your business what I do when I’m alone.
I'm still looking for the YouTube channel, Craig. Aliases? :)

Jay M's question---do you need to drink great wines to appreciate the lesser ones--is one I like too.
I hear Craig uses his "marriage hand" to swirl his wine and gets a lot more release of essence than the average oenophile.
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Re: Do you need to drink lesser wines to appreciate the great ones?

#97 Post by Anton D » January 10th, 2019, 3:44 pm

Marcus Goodfellow wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:38 pm
Jay Miller wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 7:24 am
I'd say it is necessary to have tasted vintages across a range of styles to get a handle on what you like but once you've done that you don't have to keep buying vintages that you think you won't enjoy as much.

For example I'm glad to have tasted (and therefore have an opinion on ) multiple 2004 burgundies even though it's arguably the worst vintage of the last 30 years. however if another 2004 came around I would not be a buyer. Even if I was still buying Burgundy.

Sometimes a village wine can be heartbreakingly beautiful even if it doesn't have the depth or complexity of a grand cru.

I don't think anyone would claim that dandelions are more beautiful than roses but sometimes a field full of dandelions in the spring can take your breath away. And wouldn't be improved by replacing them with rose bushes.


This is, of course, different from wines that are actually poorly made (e.g., Christian Confuron to continue with the Burgundy examples). There the only advantage to tasting them is to know to avoid them in the future.


Which leads me to the reverse and to me perhaps more interesting question - do you need to drink great wines to appreciate the lesser ones? I'm inclined to say yes to that one. I find that I appreciate and enjoy village wines more for having tried the "greater" grand crus.
Yes. Yes. Yes.

Great post,as beautiful as butterflies are, I prefer moths.
Oh, great, here comes three pages of fighting about the moth/butterfly issue.
Click to see spoiler:
For completeness, just making an internet joke, in general.
Anton Dotson

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