The Functional Ambivalent comes out of the closet and admits publicly what I've known for a little while. He is a wine guy. Not one of those turtle neck wearing effete doofuses you see walking beagles and waiting for Andrew Sullivan to tell them what to think politically. Nope, he's a wine guy and one that has even chosen Spain as his region to focus on. Good man. I'm going there in the Spring and look forward to hunting down some of his wine recommendations.
The Funky One though has a problem, in that he is suffering from wine taster's envy. Go read his post, you'll see what I mean. I was going to comment there, but there was so much to respond to I figured I could get a post out of it, and lets face it, I've got to feed the beast. So lets get the easy stuff out of the way first; There is no doubt, Tom, that you are an undiscerning boob - hell, you read my website!
Now for the post itself. Yes there are those of us who taste all of those things that he describes. Mineral, berry, tobacco, chocolate etc..... Typically it is not all at once but over the course of the bottle, since the wine opens and reveals itself over time. Tom is troubled though because he doesn't taste these things as he says. "no mater how hard I try". My read here, to the extent Tom's being sincere, is that he is trying too hard. One doesn't try to taste things in wine, instead one sips wine and lets the tastes happen. Very zen of me I know, but this is the truth. Maybe that's why the chicks dig me.....well that and the fact that when I wear underwear it's typically something unusual......but I digress.
Here is a little advice about wine tasting parties as long as we're on the subject. There is no way you're going to experience wine properly at a stuffy party. Way too many other obligations there; you've got to be sociable, witty, and worst of all you're obligated to eat little foo foo's. These things are always disgusting becauser we've grown up in a generation where women have decided that they've got to prove their merit by not being able to cook, and most guys are too bloody clodish to even try. So often were stuck with that foul crab cream cheese thing that has cocktail sauce spread across the top and some warmed over Pilsbury Crescent Roll dough with wienies in the middle. I just loathe going to homes where people put this stuff out. Get a cookbook people figure out how to make three things from scratch and in the process save your dignity!
No parties don't work at all for wine tasting. In fact how many of you have gone to one of these things where an "expert" has come in to pour the wine, and "oh by the way, he'll pass around the list for you to buy stuff at the end of the tasting"? You know what I'm talking about, we've all had this experience. You're sitting there tasting wine - some of it may even be good - and you're thinking, "I know that wine guy from somewhere". If you came of age in the '70's you remember at some point during the night that he sold your conversion van to you. In the eighties? He was the Bang Olufsen guy. Nineties? Don't ask me, I had figured this dude's gig out by then and avoided him and his oddly coiffed hair at all costs.
No, best to enjoy a bottle with a few folks who are focused on letting the experience happen....dig?
Most importantly Tom's post exposes the crime that the self important swine, Robert Parker, has committed against people of good taste everywhere. His description of a wine note from WS isn't Parker, but it is typical of the genre that he is responsible for. I repost it here:
Lush, suave red, with lush blackberry and cassis flavors, with delicious mineral and tobacco notes. Firmly structured, with a lingering finish of French roast and dark chocolate.
Who talks like that? Self important swine that's who. Especially self important swine from Maryland who would rather sip wine all day than pursue their nascent legal career! So I make a personal plea to you, my reader:
I would hope my Thursday wine blogging is a little more sincere in that I mention what I taste as I taste it with an economy of language and an accurate reflection. Please, if I ever use such elegant phrasery as above to describe a simple glass of wine, then call me a fop and shoot me in the damn head, cuz its friggin over man!
And another thing. What kind of jerk rates a wine 92? Tell me please, what is the difference between 92 and 93...or 94 for that matter? Only one possibility: The number of free cases that mysteriously appear on your doorstep! Of course everyone here knows that I have no insight into any particular wine taster's practices and so my thoughts on this matter are purely my conjecture and most likely wildly inaccurate. I would certainly never use my blog to accuse anyone of dishonesty since I have no knowledge of such practices. Really though, if you're boob enough to use such a scale don't you open yourself up to criticism?.
Straight forward and simple is my guide. Wine is either rot, "average/good", "very good", or "friggin excellent man!" on my scale. Actual ratings and adjectives can vary from this scale based on my sobriety.
So drink up people, and spit the excess in that fat bastard's face if you see him. Parker that is not Tom, who I'm sure is a svelte specimen, of specific geneology, worthy of his wife's attention.