Monday, April 19, 2010

Settling the Score...Wine Don't Taste Like a Number

I for one think it's a damn shame that they no longer keep score in kids sports. What the hell is the point? When I was young, you would go play and you would win, or you would lose; like in life. If you won your coach would spring for Slushees. If you lost, you got no Slushee. This is very much how life works. These days kids get Slushees no matter what, and then when they're forty and they don't get promoted because someone else is better than they are at the job, this whole everyone gets a Slushee thing is really going to come back to bite us all in the ass.

As big a proponent as I am for keeping scores in sports, particularly when it comes to using sports to teach life lessons to our youth, I'm just as against scoring wines. I don't think wines should be scored period. One might say, well, how will we know if it's good? Well, for one, I would recommend you try it, or you might actually read about the wine, and not the number at the top, but the tasting notes.

Do you like wine that has oak on it? Well if you read about the wine, the winemaker or a reviewer will mention the presence of oak, or toasty caramel notes, or something to this effect. If you like white wines that taste of brighter fruit notes, like pear, starfruit and green apple, you'll see that in those notes too. That's why they're called tasting notes.

But maybe you're more discerning than that. Maybe instead of enjoying a Merlot that hints at leather, or tobacco you enjoy a Merlot that hints at 89 or better? They say that the human scent of smell is the most connected to our memories. Some of the best olfactory experiences you'll have will be around aged red wines. Some of my favorite memories of my childhood were of the scent of fresh cut grass, food on the grill; a high school crush's perfume. The words I use to describe them are important to the experience and the memory. If instead I said, some of my favorite childhood memories were the scent of 93, the smell of 89 and hints of 92. What the hell does that even mean people?

Here at The Oregon Wine Blog, you won't catch us scoring any wines. Unless you mean, scoring as in acquiring, like slang, you know. In that case we're way into scoring wines. Rather, what you will catch us doing is telling you about an experience we had with a bottle of wine and some friends. Or we'll run down for you a meal we had, or a chat with a winemaker, or a particular tasting room staff member who really knew their stuff and poured juice that knocked our socks off. These are our experiences, and we enjoy sharing them. We find them entertaining and we hope you do too.

If for example in his post about Airfield Estates in Prosser, Rick said, "We walked into the Airfield tasting room, 87. The blends at Airfield, uh, 91." That would quite frankly be piss poor writing. It wouldn't tell you anything except a number that is an attempt to summarize the entirety of the experience.

We don't score wines, or experiences because, while we're obviously geniuses and in many ways superior, we're also not. We like what we like. Between the four or five of us, we could go into a winery and if you asked us which wine was the best one in there, you'd likely get 3-4 different answers. Maybe a different answer for each of us. We all have different tastes, and while world domination sounds fine to some people, especially those of us from Baltimore, it's not really our bag, man.

We want you to enjoy our blog, go check out a winery that we visited, but certainly have your own experience there. If I write about a visit to a tasting room, and I said I really enjoyed their Cabernet Franc, I would hope, if you decided to visit you'd give all their wines a whirl. If you went in and said, "Well, just go ahead and pour the Cab Franc. Clive says it's good. Mmmm, it's good. Okay, see you." That would make me sad, and a bit surprised. I should probably start my own cult, but also, you should probably cut it out.

Go have your own experience there. I wrote about the place because I thought the people were great, the site was nice, and ultimately, the wine was first rate. Take it in, talk with the staff, try the variety of their wines. Stop buying wines based on what other people tell you and sit up straight in your chair. Okay, until next time, 89.


Post a Comment