The evolution in how I enjoy wine - anyone else?

I’ve noted that recently my enjoyment of wine has changed drastically over the course of 20 years or so (which is when I first started enjoying wine), and thought it might be an interesting discussion.

As with many, once I became hooked, my goal was always to come up with as many aroma/flavor descriptions and adjectives as possible - the more creative and unique, the better, as was the trend at the time (many will remember the legends like Brad Coelho in that regard). ‘Bittersweet covered winter Montumorency cherries’, ‘multi-vitamin dust’, ‘fresh-sawn Alpine evergreens’, you get the point…

I’ve long since abandoned that practice, bringing it back only when a wine truly surprises me, which definitely happens from time to time, and during that time, I’m unencumbered in letting the descriptives flow, and delighted to experience it at that time.

For the most part, I’ve gone ‘lazy’ in my notes, instead concentrating only on non-academic pursuits of wine - simply enjoying it, with no pretense or specificity in mind. Do I like it? Do I love it? Am I not really impressed but I’ll drink it? Most often, the extent of my thought processes with wine are simply that, and, if it falls in the ‘do I love it?’ category (which could be an overwhelmingly positive response to the wine itself, or even just a moderately high level of enjoyment compounded with a fantastically low price tag, thus tagging it as ‘get more!’ in my mind, and often on CT or my iPhone Notes), I make a mental or written note of it. A few wines inspire me to write a formal tasting note, but perhaps only 10% of wines I consume. Perhaps I’ve gone lazy?

I have the great fortune of tasting wines in a more formalized setting, over a meal, organized into verticals or horizontals, often blind. These I enter with a more academic intent, of course, as the event is designed, and I so often learn how little I know in these tastings - perhaps from lack of ‘academic pursuits’ (memorizing a winemaker’s style, correctly targeting a vineyard or producer double-blind, convincingly proclaiming a vintage, etc) in the consumption of wine, perhaps because I’m an idiot. Either way, I don’t concern myself with those results, even if I’ve had some great success in the past, and possibly will find success in the future, principally because that’s not my ‘goal’ in the enjoyment of wine anymore - it’s simply that, ‘the enjoyment of wine’ to me now. Once the event has completed, I reflect briefly on what I’ve learned (hopefully!) and go back to the current norm. Many of my best ‘wine friends’ approach wine consumption in an academic, thoughtful manner all the time, and I gleefully learn from them (hence having Wine Berserkers, if you haven’t yet figured that part out - I can seep knowledge and opinion from thousands of wine lovers worldwide!)

As with many things, if not everything, it could be cyclical. I still love a perfect pairing when it happens, intentionally or accidentally, and often strive to match a wine with food, but my goal at present is more about finding wines and producers and vintages I love (and, if a combination of two or three, how fortuitous!) and re-upping the cellar with only those, whilst always looking for new (to me) producers or wines, recommended by Berserkers (all too often, thanks, jerks!) or fellow wine lovers during wine events.

Wondering if anyone else has reflected on how their enjoyment of wine has evolved through the years…if not, I guess this could constitute an ‘open letter’ :crazy_face:

(apologies for the rambling, I wrote this in a stream of consciousness - fortunately, we’ve reached ‘the end of wine writing’ and I may have just proven that)


I used to try to post notes on all wines i tasted but found it to be too cumbersome unless it was a wow wine. (Maybe im lazy as well). I also dont get caught up in the tasting descriptors as much either. I do appreciate people who do it but maybe im too lazy to do it or i cant describe it. But honestly, it can be hard to describe great wines in detail. I think that talks to the quality and mystique of the wine. Something that is beyond description. Something so profound there isnt words to decsribe it. So i try to share those wines instead of trying to intellectual describe it in detail.

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We have reached the end of the Wine


It’s interesting you posted this because I was thinking of posting a similar (but much less eloquent) topic. I have been enjoying wine for 20 years and I have never written a tasting note. I have kept lists of wines I particularly enjoy, but I have never felt compelled to write more about them than that. I have always thought I just experienced and enjoyed wine in a different way than others.

Similarly, I have been reading (and enjoying) the posts on WineBerserkers for several years - but I just recently registered for the board - and I’m not sure exactly why. I love wine and reading about wine, but I don’t feel much like writing about wine if that makes sense.


I’m gonna print and frame this, as it was in reference to me, and nobody would believe it otherwise!

Yes. I respect the ability of some (they are actually very few) who have the ability to crank out very accurate descriptors. Very early on in my adventure I realized that attempting to do so brought me no better enjoyment or understanding of what I drink and stopped taking notes. If the wine is harmonious and pleases me, that’s really all I need. Trying to take notes and sniff out minute aspects feels laborious. Also don’t stress on pairings as much as I just try to avoid obviously brutal clashes although will freely admit that when the alchemy comes together just right in a pairing, that is what it is all about. Wasn’t long ago I was dining at La Boissonnerie in Paris and sharing a bottle with friends. I wanted fish for dinner but Gonon St Jo seemed the best option to drink for all of us. Not the pairing I would think ideal but it was just fine. Good wine, good food, good company. Don’t stress. Pour the wine.

You must be busy with global infrastructure contracts, as I expect FAR more from you. Not Kane-level commentary, but come on! You can do better!! #coachtoddfather

Glad I could make a good impression with my first official post to WB!

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You might as well hang up the cleats now. It’s over. One and done.

I feel like my notes have mostly been general impressions for awhile now. Some people have stayed after it for many years, though.

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Much of what you say Todd rings true here with me… We’re maturing (AARP member yet :p?) and finding out what’s important which with wine and the enjoyment of all things wine - it’s all about the “peeps” and “places”. I’m not talking about Easter Peeps - but - I’m talking about the people you have chosen or want to choose to spend your time with around a table. These people are often the ones with the same level of crazy food/wine tendencies that you have - traveling for the experience that define a memory that will only be yours when you reflect on your life 30 years from now. The elation is palpable when walking into a dining room knowing that good open-minded people are sitting waiting for you to break bread - high quality wine required though :). It’s really pretty simple when you break it down like this Todd - enjoy life and enjoy the friends that you’ve chosen to spend time with. I’m finding this is the story of wine and humans throughout time :). Sum really heavy sh*t - lol - CHEERS


I’ve embraced your casual style of critiquing for a long time, knowing full well my limitations with descriptions. The only downside is disappointing Bu3ker (I jest). I’ve always been amused how varied the pro descriptions can be.

Nice post, Todd. I’ve been there for quite a while now as I approach my 50th (!) year of serious wine drinking. My palate preferences have changed over the years as well as my focus on analytics. I’m fortunate to have a nice collection lot older wines, which I love, but I drink wine almost exclusively for enjoyment in context. I’ve noticed a similar move in food - less chasing of the newest thing in restaurants and tasting menus and more focus on comfort, well-prepared foods

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Isn’t (wine) life a circle?:thinking:

Not for us Flat-earthers!

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I like to post a couple of descriptors on most wines I drink, as well as commenting on the structure

With nearly every wine I drink, my first 30 seconds, and maybe a few stops as I work through a glass or bottle, are intensely focused on what I’m tasting. After that, it’s about enjoyment and being in the moment, not in a tasting note (although my mind never really shuts that off). With red wines, I admit I’m more about casual but thoughtful pleasure unless there is a surprise, but with champagne I’m more intensely focused on what I’m smelling and tasting. I think that’s in part because I’ve assuaged a good bit of intellectual curiosity about a number of regions and wines and am pretty comfortable about what I’m going to get. Champagne, though, is incessantly beguiling and has been for years.

Tasting notes are, for me, two fold. First, they are a means of keeping records of what I got out of certain wines that I can use for reference, and for comparison bottle to bottle of the same wine. Second, they are outwardly facing records for others to use to determine whether to buy a wine, open one now or wait, or even for a starting point for discussion. Most of that, for me, is in the champagne thread which is inhabited by a lively group of wonderful people with different preferences, experiences, and a whole wealth of knowledge. In other words, being geeky with champagne is still super duper fun, and part of the enjoyment is sharing with each other. What a group.

Mostly I enjoy wine most with good people. Early in the wine journey I had a nearly insatiable desire to taste and experience everything. After thousands of bottles, I still have a burning desire to taste and experience everything, but prefer to do it with loved ones, good friends, other berserkers. The external facing social aspect of wine is often far more rewarding than what’s in bottle, and there are some really, truly exceptional human beings on this forum and elsewhere with whom to enjoy some great sauce.


My notes are chiefly for myself; I was a try-hard for a while, but eventually had to ask, “Who am I kidding? Do I really care whether the cherries are mid- or late-season?”. Now I write notes only on the bottles that I enjoy, and why I enjoyed them.


Pretty soon we will all have tasting notes that read:

“Greg, Barb, Steve, Steak, Thursday”

:joy: I will say my thoroughness to take notes is also not really fun for me since I sell wine as a profession and do such types of things for work. I kind of just “vibe check” wines at home. Is this wine bringing me happiness? Does this wine feel like a chore to finish?

I am right there with you. I have found that the people who approach wine with an intellectual obsession are often not the kind of people you want to have a drink at the bar with and often take the joy out of it with pedantry and whole bunch of “well, actually”.