Quality wine advice isn’t about toasty and oaky; it’s about helping you find wine you enjoy
The audience – 53 women in a fashionable historic home in Dallas – wasn’t the Wine Curmudgeon’s usual crowd. But their enthusiasm for wine, as well as their questions and comments, made me feel right at home.
I spoke to a group called Mes Amies; my charge was to share with them a view of the wine world that wasn’t about toasty and oaky. In this, I was reminded that the wine business can confuse and annoy even its best customers – and that they aren’t necessarily happy about it.
Among their questions and concerns:
• What if I like a wine and my friend doesn’t? The answer, of course, is that it doesn’t matter. One of wine’s great joys is the almost infinite number of styles, and you don’t have to enjoy every one. You just need to keep trying as many as you can to find those you do enjoy.
• Are screwcap wines of decent quality? Yes. Next question. That I still get asked this question 20 years after screwcaps hit the mainstream speaks to how screwed up (bad pun fully intended) the wine business is about closures.
• The European wine conundrum, or why can I drink so much wine made in Europe and not feel it the way I do with California wine? This is usually part of the sulfites old wive’s tale, in which California producers load their wines up to make us all sick. The answer has nothing do with sulfites; it’s about lower alcohol levels in European wine and drinking them during a 3-hour lunch, compared to a 20-minute dinner in the states, crammed down with three glasses of 14 ½ percent red wine. Which one do you think will make you feel worse?
• How can we learn about quality cheap wine? I’m always flattered when I’m asked this, since I get a chance to plug the blog. But what does it say about the wine business that theses women, most of whom are regular wine drinkers, have to ask me and can’t find out elsewhere?