Ignorance is bliss
Increasing one’s knowledge of wine can be a double-edged sword.
Remember when you were first learning about wine and everything tasted good? If someone asked you what a particular wine tasted like, your answer might very well have been ‘wine’!This attention to what we are drinking is also the reason why wine is such a satisfying beverage.
Building up a repertoire of recognisable smells and tastes can be highly satisfying, though it can also mean that you now see all the imperfections that were once invisible.
Cork taint is one such character. Before you learn to recognise it, a tainted wine would just look looked dull or flat. But once you can see the fault, you will never be able to drink a corked wine again.
Brettanomyces related taints are similar. Many people can blissfully enjoy Brettanomyces-affected wines whereas others will shoot off profanities about its dominant influence. Of course, one’s sensitivities also come into play.
Oak is another character that can sit harmlessly in the landscape of a wine until it starts to be recognised, then it sticks out like never before.
My current bug-bear is under-ripe grapes. Restraint is one thing, though unripe flavours make for a wildly unsatisfying wine.
However, this attention to what we are drinking is also the reason why wine is such a satisfying beverage.
I am always delighted when I see violets in red wine, as it is quite rare to observe, despite the descriptor being used widely. And I adore seeing red rose and jasmine. A touch of liquorice and black pepper adds interest and charm, though crushed ants are repelling.
The more we learn, the harder we are to please. But when we find that delicious bottle, it is more satisfying than ever.