Monday, May 12, 2008

Wine Culture. A very smokey flavor with hints of raspberry.

The wine culture has never been a big part of my life as neither of my parents drink and wine is usually not the choice beverage of college students. However this past weekend my roommates and I headed up to Napa Valley for a day of wine tasting and my eyes were opened to a lifestyle enjoyed by many. Not knowing what to expect I went into the day with an open mind and hoped to learn a thing or two about the supposed complexities of wine aside from one kind being red and the other being white. After the two wineries and about five glasses of various wines I began to realize that most of the wines I tasted seemed fairly similar in taste.
“In this you will taste hints of cherry and oak on the front of the palette and some hints of chocolate in the aftertaste”. I did not taste any of these flavors. If wine tasted like chocolate and cherries I would be drinking it more often. A man next to be swirled his glass, smelled it, swirled it again and then remarked that he didn’t taste oak in the wine but instead he had a smoky flavor. I tasted bitter grapes.
All day I couldn’t help but listen to the wine coinsurers name each different wine, ask for the year it was made, or what direction the grape grove faced. At one point I really just wanted to ask if it really mattered? Could someone really taste a significant difference between a 2004 Syrah that’s grapes were grown facing northeast or a Merlot that was aged in an oak barrel for five years? The frightening realization I had this weekend is there are people that can do that. They could even tell you what time of day the grapes were picked at to make the wine. Okay maybe that was a stretch. However the wine culture is alive and blooming and next time I visit I have planned on making up descriptions of each wines flavors. I feel like if you just throw out words such as “full”, “fruits”, “strong nose”, and “hints of berries” you will be quickly accepted into the elite wine community. Until then I am proud to know the difference between a red and a white.

Maggie McAteer

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