The average consumer likes consistency, but I believe that the vinophile likes a consistently interesting wine. Let me explain why I’m making this statement.
In a recent brief discussion with a wine friend we debated what is better: a wine that consumers have learned to expect the same from, vintage after vintage, so that they are confident when they pick up a bottle from the supermarket – or – a wine that surprises? Which could also be from a consistently good source?
For example, for years I have recommended Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc for its lively fruit aromas and flavors. The bottle even now has a description of what I mean: nut fruit, which is fruit with a “nut” center like apricots and peaches. I’ve frankly never noticed a difference in this wine year after year. When I noticed they came out with an unoaked Chardonnay, that wine, just like its sister varietal, tastes the same to me with every passing vintage.
Other supermarket favorites, like the baby-blue labeled La Marca Prosecco priced below $15 are in this category, along with all non vintage sparkling wines that strive to taste the same year after year.
Sameness doesn’t mean wrongness. These wines make it easy to select for a pairing dinner, convenient as most are on supermarket shelves, and finally, most are competitively priced.
The vinophile in me does argue the point though. If I don’t want to think about new and interesting aromas and flavors then why am I even bothering with wine? Why not drink water? If I just want to be inebriated there’s flavorless and colorless vodka.
Nope, if given the choice, I want to be surprised by a wine. And I bet some of you reading this article like this too. One of my most interesting “A Ha” moments come when someone brings me a wine that they love and want me to try. I want to put as much effort into tasting the wine that they did, figuring out if I can taste what they are describing and find the same pleasure.
It’s also fun if the wine has a totally different flavor than the aroma, if the color is not exactly what I expected, if the winemaker writes up a clever diatribe on the back label, and, of course, if it’s a varietal, winery, winemaker or from a place on earth I haven’t had before.
Think about it, which is your preference?
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video, authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Long Beach Grand Cru. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits. You can also seek her marketing advice via Eve@EveBushmanConsulting.com