Somehow, two years have passed since I’ve started writing this blog.
In the beginning, I was worried that I’d have little to say, nothing original to add to the discourse of the wine world. God knows that there are already enough wine writers and critics making their voices heard.
I was aware that maybe 90% of blogs pretty much die off within their first year. So to prove to myself that this was more than a passing phase, I generally stuck to a schedule of publishing one article per week.
From the beginning, I’ve relied on my foundational knowledge gained through work and study. Wine reviews that I’ve published were careful to avoid the flowery pseudo-academic language that characterises much wine writing found in most media. I believed strongly in applying a rational and straightforward approach to wine, and yet not denying the existence of the abstract (some would say romantic).
After publishing over 100 articles, I think there is a common theme that unifies my thoughts on wine. Out of 100+ articles, 50+ of them non-review types, the following twelve hold special significance:
- Rational Wine Experiment – The Vertical Tasting
- Rational Wine Experiment – The Price Tasting
- Thinking Sober – Empty Your Cup
- Thinking Sober – Information is Power
- The 3 Gateways of Wine
- The 5 Most Trivial Wine Concepts (For Consumers)
- Essential #6 – Wine Tastings
- In Pursuit Of Flavour
- Essential #7 – Wine Classes
- 3 Main Things To Think About When Choosing A Wine
- Rational Wine Experiment – The Horizontal Tasting
- Take A Leap Of Faith
Almost 25% of my non-review wine writing is mainly about opening your mind.
In particular, opening your mind to new flavours and experiences, not closing yourself to anything in particular because of hearsay and prejudice.
You’ve probably heard the following saying:
“The customer is always right.”
Nowhere is this seen more clearly and immediately than in the hospitality industry.
If a customer complains about anything, the waiters, the chefs, the sommeliers and even the restaurant managers will fall over themselves to make things right and ensure that the customer is taken care of.
Of course, I’m not indifferent to this dynamic, and understand that this is just good business. If I go to a nice restaurant I expect to have a good time.
But if you go to the same place and orders the same menu item ten times in a row, you’re going to get bored. And yet you might too afraid to change your ways, because you know what you like now and you’ve gotten comfortable. Maybe you’ve thought of trying something new, but you’re waiting for a sign from the outside to show you the way.
But because most people have been trained to think that “the customer is always right”, hospitality workers have their own fears as well, such as suggesting a new dish that the guest ends up disliking.
With wine, the simplest example is the guest who exclaims, without prompting, that they would drink “anything but…” Chardonnay is the common one here, but I’ve encountered people who claimed to be averse to other varietals.
I could take the easy route and pick something other than Chardonnay.
But part of me feels… sorry for Chardonnay, for being the victim of such discrimination.
So I ask questions. I ask the guest what it is exactly about Chardonnay that they dislike. Is it the oakyness, the butteriness, the heavy weight that characterises a lot of Chardonnay in the world? Because I completely understand – I then share with the guest my own story of being turned off Chardonnay years ago after tasting something similar (I call it Chardonnay PTSD). But as I learned more about wine I understood that Chardonnay could be made in a myriad of expressions, not just fenceposts-in-liquid-form. There’s a reason why Chardonnay is one of the most planted white wine grapes in the world. I have just such an oak-less, butter-less example, would you like to try it just for tonight?
What happens next is almost surreal. As they taste the wine I see their eyes open wide in shock, turn to me and say:
“Wow, that is the best Chardonnay (or other varietal) I have ever tasted. Thank you!“
Risk and Reward
For me, being able to change another person’s perspective is more important than merely giving the customer what they asked for.
A lot of what I’ve written can be boiled down to opening your mind, try new things, don’t get stuck in a rut or predictable patterns.
Perhaps we will never meet face to face. You may never end up at our dining tables, and I may never approach you to converse about wine.
Even so, I hope that through this website and my articles, your perspective has changed as well.
Read more: 5 Reasons To Have Wine On A Date