Wine Thinking and Drinking

I’m sipping a Jacob’s Creek Shiraz-Cabernet blend. The wine snobs on Vivino talk trash about it, saying such things as these:

  1. “Not a wine to cherish. Pepper and vanilla stood out but a rather generic fruit flavour. Was a little bitter with high acidity.”
  2. “Lower quality than I’m use to but not bad at all for the price. Went pretty well with my steak. Would like to try more of this blend.”
  3. “This wine is very inexpensive and tastes like it. It isn’t horrible and on sale I would buy it again, but I’d rather drink the reserve which is much better.”

Oh, there are plenty more. The last guy gets me with his “on sale I would buy it again.” Yet “is very inexpensive and tastes like it.” But if I can get a bargain, I’ll drink the swill, because it will taste better if it’s even cheaper than normal.

Admittedly, I am not a wine snob. I know what I like and I know what I loathe, but I do not know enough to differentiate between bottles or even in many cases types of wines.

The bottle from which I’m drinking is, in my view, a deal at just over $5 on sale, normally anywhere from $7 to $11, depending on where you shop. I’ll happily buy it at $5; maybe I’ll look for alternatives when it gets to $9. There are others I prefer. When I’m drinking a white wine, I generally prefer a New Zealand sauvignon blanc. I really can tell the difference between domestic and South American SB and New Zealand wines. I’m not sure about Australian versions; I haven’t had enough of them. But my sauvignon blanc wines of choice are, even on sale by the case. about $12 or $13. For me, that’s getting pricey for a daily wine. Twenty dollar bottles are for special occasions and gifts for dinner hosts; and I get by with less on a regular basis. In reds, I like cabernet sauvignon, malbec, and pinot noir, among others.

If money were no object, I might indulge myself and try to learn to refine my palate. I’m sure there are real differences between wines that go for $10 and those that go for $50. But I can’t tell after a glass or two. Usually. Although I must admit I’ve had some pretty nasty swill in my day. Stuff that I wouldn’t feed to pigs, because I have too much respect for pigs to do something so untoward. And once I had a superb wine at a restaurant (someone else ordered and paid) that, later, I bought at a price greater than $50. It was excellent. But then I wept when I thought the money I spent on that one bottle could easily have bought six to ten that would have been perfectly acceptable and enjoyable on more occasions than that single bottle.

The she portion of our friends who visited over the weekend likes pinot noir. So Janine bought a few bottles at Colonial Liquors (our favorite liquor store in these parts) while she was in Little Rock. One was quite peppery in flavor; not bad, but a bit odd. Our guests brought a bottle, too, and it was good. Another Janine bought was decent, but a tad flat. And one was, in a word, excellent. I only wish I’d made notes of which was which. All the ones Janine bought were reasonably priced (less than $15).

I’m writing this tonight because I need to keep my fingers on the keyboard. I need to think and act as if my thoughts were worth recording for posterity. I need to keep my writing in practice and practical. I need to emote in ways more healthy than dark fiction and prose poetry with undertones of anger and barely stifled rage. I record these periodic stream-of-consciousness rambles, in part, to document that people do, sometimes, think and express themselves in this staccato style of information that’s connected but not to what you think yet it’s powerful in its revelations of the starkness and sterility of thought that passes for philosophy. I needed the period to allow me to breathe. I’ve been accused of being someone who prefers to use eighty words when ten will do. I’m guilty. And sometimes, even when I know my long-winded prose is hard on the reader, I stick to my guns. Those long, drawn-out sentences are expressive of states of mind that succinct bullet point statements cannot match.

But, back to the wine. Yes. Back to the wine. This beast of a blog will wait, won’t it? Well of course it will. It is obedient in that way, a trait I admire for its rarity.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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