If you had to share a handful of lessons learnt on your wine journey so far, what would they be?
For starters a couple of thoughts from me:
- Just because a leading critic, or indeed a range of critics or show judges like a wine, it doesn’t mean I’ll like it. It’s my palate that matters, not their palates.
- Find that balance between exploration of new wines and returning to old favourites. It’s possible to focus too much on one or the other.
p.s. With the moderators approval, I’d like to run this on the main forum, but as the comments die down, to shift it to the Wine101 forum as it may prove most beneficial there. On that note, a quick plug for an excellent 1st post by JonT, eloquently asking for advice with enough background to make suggestions practical. I’d be very interested to see what other people would suggest, and in particular hearing any suggestions for Zinfandels that might appeal to Jon.
Be open minded. There is a lot of uncertainty about which wines will age well. An overoaked wine may fall apart with age, or as the oak integrates into the wine, you may be able to see that the wine really had some nice stuff underneath. A vintage that seems really ripe or really unripe vintage may seem very different with a few years of age. Be prepared to change your mind. I truly hate it when someone posts a tasting note on a wine and someone else tells them they are wrong based on a 10 year old tasting of the wine.
At the end of the day it’s only grape juice.
I have learned a ton about producers, vintages, grape varieties, regions and wine making technique but no matter what knowledge I add it always comes back to three core principles for me:
wines are influenced by their setting…drinking good bottles with great friends = great wine experiences.
no bottle of wine tastes as good as seeing the excitement of my kids faces at a new experience for them so my wine spending habits have greatly shifted since I have had kids.
wine is never absolute, what one person likes another person dislikes…as a result never rule out trying new things.
Your cellar/storage/wine frig is never big enough.
There will always be another wine you “must” have.
Just drink it, don’t cherish it forever.
Corked wines should be returned.
Wine is not an investment.
Wax seals are easy to remove despite what people say.
Travel shock is a myth, or not.
Not all roads lead to Burgundy.
High alcohol in wine is not a bad thing.
Low alcohol wines are lovely.
Merlot is good.
And buy an Ah So opener. You will eventually need it.
80% of wine is consumed by alcoholics…
Good wines, and especially great wines, have seamless balance.
I have learned much about wine but more important is to just let go and have fun. Acting as if there’s a stick up your ass says more about you as a person than it does your wine prowess and lord knows I have spent my lifetime avoiding such people, pretty successful too if I must say so. Good topic.
To stop chasing points and buy more wines that I do not shake when I decide to open them. Rather than treat them like baseball cards, treat them like food
Say you don’t care but be sure to buy wines that get high scores and especially buy wines that people talk about most on wine sites so you have something to post about.
Finally, remember that you can antagonize a lot of people with an opinion. Since wine is not essential to life, people are extremely passionate about their beliefs.
I learned, well, I have met some of the best people on earth–kind, generous, with integrity and a passion to share. I’ve also learned to trust my own palate.
Im circling back around to Chardonnay in a big way.
I learned (not learnt) that of the hundreds of winemakers and winery owners I have met, that literally all of them are wonderful people. That is why most of my wine is California. From Bill Phelps, to Dom and Carissa Chappelet, from Jan Krupp to Jennifer Lamb, all great.
Ian is an Englishman. Learnt is just fine (even in Norfolk).
I’ve learnt to listen a lot, but trust, or at least follow infrequently.
Gezus why can’t you Brits learn how to spell the Queen’s English properly?
Wine is not a competition sport.
Getting kicked off a mailing list is not big thing.
Accept that you can’t buy everything that looks good.
Even if you love California, France makes pretty good juice too.
Quit chasing the high of that “ah hah!” Wine that first thrilled you, that’s not where the joy is found.
All roads may not lead to Burgundy, but they seem to lead to Chardonnay.
John and Anton, why muddy up the thread with this kind of stuff? I don’t get why either of you need to post these kinds of replies.
That wine forums are the ultimate test of grammar
Really great input everyone, some wonderful observations.
Don’t give up with Bordeaux…