Why your new best wine is like your new best friend…
Taste a wine, or meet a person. Each wine is different as each person is different. Wines are so varied that they can be, and often are, compared to the human personality types. Wines can be matched with friends, relatives and recent acquaintances. Some of these folks are in your life by chance, while others have the bond of family. The characteristics expressed by grapes are as complex as people, and our impressions of wine can be compared to our perceptions of people. You meet wines as often you meet people: dinner at a friend’s houses, restaurants, cocktail parties or at your favorite tailgate party.
After the very first taste, we develop thoughts, feelings and initial impressions about wine. We may not like it after that initial taste. It’s almost how you didn’t like your husbands ex-girlfriend the first time you met her, but as time went by you realized she was a nice person. That rose’ from the Lanquedoc did nothing for you at first, but on the third try you realized that even though she was easy, she was still a lot of fun. After all if ever there was a floozy of wines, it’s certainly a French Rose’. Seriously, it pairs with everything!
Your palette evolves as does your taste in people. You may no longer hang out with a certain group of people. And, you may now pass over a fruitier wine for an earthier, more matured wine, a wine with more discretion.
We seem to find varying wines for the changing times in our lives. Some wines are young and some wines are old. Perhaps you remember that 84′ Bordeaux that was popped open at dinner because the smell did kind of remind you of Uncle Buddy’s house. Buddy is dusty, crusty and long in the tooth as some wines can be. However, Buddy has layers that have formed during his tenure. He is no simple wine so to speak. A wine reminiscent of Buddy could be called a real senior citizen of the cellar. Then there is the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s a baby, an adolescent, a real young buck full of fruit and tannins. It needs to open up. It needs to age. And just like that guy you dated in college, it really needs to mature before you take it to a family dinner. In time it will gain some layers and some complexity. Right now its still being formed in the cellar. It will be ready to enjoy in a few years.
A wine may appear in your life at a friend’s house. Perhaps you did not choose this wine, but it is the only Chardonnay on the bar and that is really what you want to drink. After a glass you mutter to yourself that it’s “not bad” and “ Why are my friends so cheap?” and “ Next time I’m bringing my own wine.” and “ Don’t they know about the Market Basket?” If that chardonnay were a person, it would be the only girl in your drivers ed course from high school, the one you ate lunch with because she was the only other girl.
Other wines are like your family. Take champagne. She appears in her tall, slim glass at every family event and celebration. She is like your older sister who you love so much and also hate…. the next day. She knows sooo much more than you and being with her makes you feel so sophisticated. You will go days without speaking but when you get together again it is like a sunshine bubble dance of love and happiness! Relationships with humans and wine can be cyclical. People like wine can come and go. Feelings about wine can come and go.
And then, there is the wine you meet at a cocktail party. It smacks you in the face with its big bold tannins. It tells a long belabored story about its childhood spent on pristine acreage in Napa Valley, the careful intuitive hands that picked its grapes and its years spent in fine oak barrels and it goes on and on about its price. “Is this wine for real?” You think. And just when you wonder if its over it smacks you in the head with its blistering tannins. You may think your palette can’t take anymore, so you try to hand this glass to someone else. Or, maybe you have some more because you prefer a strong personality in wine. Some wines can wear you out. And anyone who has ever participated, or more correctly, not participated in a one sided conversation knows that as personalities can feel overwhelming, so can wine.
Luckily, your every night wine is like your best friend or your spouse – familiar, easy, low maintenance. It’s soft and unpuzzling, simple, yet elegant. Your every night wine doesn’t make you eat filet mignon. It goes just as well with Ritz crackers and cheesewhiz or a frozen pizza.It’s like a warm blanket. Value being a particular concern, it’s the wine you stay home with and watch T.V. Although a good relationship surely has no price tag.
And, just as there are country wines mad from muscadine grapes, there are late harvest muscats from the Michelin star studded wine lists. We all know a hillbilly who would like to spit some beechnut. Yet, we are familiar with the gent who likes to toke on a stogie. The grapes can be the same, just raised and cultivated in different places, or not cultivated,… Just like humans, wines have various levels of cultivation.
New wines are born every day and every year just like humans. Prissy or not, your wine is what you like as your friends are who you like! Enjoy both!