Last week I had an urban wine experience in the most unexpected of places: Napa. This was my first trip to the Crusher District in Napa where I attended a tasting hosted by the Wine Foundry, a full service shop where you can make/sell/buy/custom label wine. Does anyone remember Crushpad? The Wine Foundry is seriously in the production business, offering its services to novices and established winemakers alike. And they know how to throw a good party complete with disco ball (a stroke of genius to add the perfect bit of whimsy)!
I had a good time and tasted wines of varying quality – some I liked, others elicited a “meh.” A few days later while flipping through Food & Wine magazine. I stumbled upon an article about Sean Thackrey in which he mentions the “Wine Police” who “put restrictions on what you are supposed to enjoy.” That got me wondering:
Have I become the wine police?
Now I certainly have my preferences but don’t we all? I also have endless curiosity about wine and will try anything even if it is not what I typically favor. My general distaste of oaky buttery Chardonnay certainly did not stop me from trying one. I hope that my facial expressions do not give me away. Regardless of what I like, I have no judgment about what you like even if it is something I would rather not drink. I also drink some strange geeky stuff (hello, Trousseau from Jura) that a lot of people would rather not sip.
So when does one move from having a preference to policing? I think I just answered that: it is when you stop being curious and start being judgmental.
What a relief. I am not the wine police, and I do think policing is rare. What is more common is strong opinions of what one thinks makes for good wine. I think that is fine as long as we do not get into an “either/or” battle. I am more of a “both/and” type who stays strong to what I believe and expect you to do the same. Actually, I think despite our differences we probably share a common dislike of poor wine making.
Here’s to the wisdom of loving what you love and letting others do the same. Here’s also to knowing what you love but not stopping there because you embrace wine as a joyful journey. Here’s to wine for all!