My Vinous Values
It has been a few months since I entered the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, now into the 10th edition, so I decided it was time to get back on the horse. This month’s theme, Values, was chosen by the previous month’s winner, The Sybarite (you can read the winning article here), and here is my effort…
My Vinous Values
There are so many different ways to interpret the subject of values in the world of wine; should I write about the virtues of natural wine-making, the mysteries of biodynamics or organic viticulture? Or how about treating values as points… now there’s a discussion that always creates much debate in vinous circles. After much consideration I thought I would use this an opportunity to explore my own personal wine values; a chance to create my own list of principles.
1. Never stop learning
Wine is one of the most fun and interesting subjects anywhere on this planet. The more you learn the less you realise you actually know. Learning something new in the wine world is like opening a door to a room you never knew existed. It could be a new grape discovery or a new region but the more you explore the more you come to realise the wine world is like a set of a thousand Russian dolls… and you will never get to the centre of any of them… but it won’t stop me from trying!
2. Step outside my comfort zone
Earlier this year myself and Mike from www.pleasebringmemywine.com started up a project called #newwinethisweek. The whole idea is to get people trying stuff they usually wouldn’t go for…including ourselves. I’m no fan of Gewürztraminer or Fino, but do you know what, a least I’ve tried them again. Without this project I probably wouldn’t have discovered a love for red wines from the Lebanon or dry Hungarian whites made with Furmint. I want to continue trying new things and not just settle for what I know. This value ladders back to #1 the only way to keep learning is to be prepared to step out of your comfort zone.
3. Don’t be a snob
Just because it’s expensive doesn’t necessarily make it good… It pays to try everything. Heck, I even bought a bottle each of Blue Nun, Mateus Rose and Piat d’Or just to write an article for this very competition a few months back! At least now I KNOW I don’t like Blue Nun or Mateus Rose (Piat d’Or was surprisingly drinkable)! I try to write about wines at all levels and include recommendations from the UK supermarkets every week in my newsletter; just because I love wine so much and I’m prepared to spend my money it, I don’t expect everyone else to feel the same. A new rule for this year has been if someone brings a bottle into the house, it gets opened. Gone are the days when I decide I’ve got something that ”goes better with duck” or “we should give that another couple of years”… that’s what wine dickheads do… I don’t want to be one of them.
(Important note: every rule has its exception; if you bring a bottle of Dino wine that you bought for half price at Tesco, neither you nor the bottle will make it through the front door!)
4. Say what I see/smell/taste/think
I’ve been to many a tasting where I’ve disagreed with the presenter or disagreed with another member of the group. But the truth is I’ve usually disagreed in my head and been afraid to speak up. Why? For fear of being wrong perhaps? The truth of the matter there are no right and wrong answers in wine! How do you know what a ripe red cherry tastes like to me? I doubt very much that we bought our cherries from the same place at the same time of year and ate them in the same place. It’s OK to have a difference of opinion; in fact I love wine because it creates a debate. I may not agree with you but I respect your opinion… please respect mine too!
5. Do it because I love it
We’ve all read the posts about writer’s block, lack of inspiration etc. etc. If you hear that from me… shoot me! I love drinking wine, I love thinking about wine, I love talking about wine, I love writing about wine. When that love ends (please don’t let it happen) you’ll know because I’ll stop doing this… I won’t tell you about it, I won’t ask you to tell me to keep going… I’ll just go and write about something else. Actually, that it is ridiculous, how can I get bored of something that is so never ending. (See point #1!)
So there you have it; my wine values. Nothing about grapes, regions, winemaking or terroir, just my heart on my sleeve. These are my wine values. I can think of worse codes to live by.