05 October 2012

05oct- self-indulgent ramblings mostly about wine

i was thinking about vintage changes this morning.
the subject occurred to me since i had to switch deodorants because piggly wiggly doesn't carry my brand. as i got ready for work the familiar but different aura that followed me reminded me of the sometimes subtle, sometimes dramatic differences in a wine from vintage to vintage. now, there's usually a core of the same in the wine, whether it be terroir, winemaker personality, or just distinctive varietal character but i'm always a little pleased when it's a little different. in these modern times i imagine it's not terrible difficult to recreate the same wine every year so when it's a little different i feel like winemaker is allowing something natural to be expressed. maybe. i hope.
i remember the first time i recognized a vintage change and had an opinion about it. i wasn't terribly far into my wine education and had been concentrating on bordeaux, in particular. we'd been drinking the '98 of an affordable little haut-medoc for a little while and on my next order the 2000 was delivered without our knowledge. we tasted without looking at it and scrunched our faces in confusion as it was distinctly different. it still had that core of what we knew but it was so different. i admit i felt silly articulating "i much prefer the '98' since i was still fairly new to wine at the time and it seemed like such an affectation.
but it really helped to illustrate what a little time in bottle can do or how much the climate can change a wine. maybe rain bloated grapes one year or drought raisinated them the next. maybe threat of bad weather made some vineyards pick early while others just up the road risked it and picked later.
and that's just the beginnings of the vagaries that can impact how you taste your wine. glass ware could let your wine's bouquet blossom or it could suppress it. what you're eating could pair beautifully with it or completely destroy its structure. the person next to you could be wearing a lot of fragrance which could distract and confuse your nose. starting a glass of wine indoors and then walking outside could give you subtly different aromatics. with whom you drink your wine. the time of day.maybe you're drinking wine next to a dishwasher that poofs out different smelling air as it changes from function to function. how happy or angry you are. maybe you're about to get sick and don't know it yet but the body is starting to respond and your palate is dulled. maybe the pressurization of an airplane cabin dulling your senses. not to mention the bank of descriptors you have could be entirely different from that of the person next to you
it's such a convoluted affair.
i don't really have much of a point, i suppose. these unpredictables apply to almost everything, really. food, beer, movies, clothes, locales. definitely people. music. how an instrument plays.
... words with friends.
i'll stop now.

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