Initial Rant

Even a casual wine enthusiast has had those moments of wine magic, when the wine in the glass becomes much more than just a drink. The flavors are dancing in your mouth, the aromas are awakening your senses in a way that makes you feel alive. Or maybe it’s just a big sigh of  – “ooooh that’s good!” You share your sentiments, and the entire group experience is elevated as a result. It’s no joke to say that great wine can have a very positive influence on our lives and our well-being. And it’s those moments of wine magic that keep you coming back, hunting for the next treasure in a bottle.

But let’s not overstate things – wine isn’t going to save the world, and wine isn’t going to make you happy when everything in your life is a mess. But as part of the modern sensibilities that seek out quality and a connection with everything we experience, whether it be our food, our fashion or our drink, in our mind wine ranks at the top of the list of experiences that can at once seem so concrete (you can taste and smell it after all), but yet so ethereal due to the limited availability of any given good wine, and the knowledge that in all actuality, the wine you’re holding in your glass will probably never taste quite the same again. It’s a fleeting experience, and you know it; so you better enjoy it while you can.

In trying to dissect what makes up those magical moments, we acknowledge that it’s often due to the confluence of what’s in the glass and what’s going on around you. Maybe it was the place, the time of day, the weather, the people you were with, the food you were eating, or the energy in the restaurant that night. Context plays a very influential role in whether or not the wine you’re drinking is a hit or a dud. But we’ve come to realize that of course at the core, it’s all about the quality of the wine. So how do you find and discern quality? When you first start exploring the wine world, it is overwhelming. So many choices, so many countries, complicated labels, no roadmap, no glossary. You take chances, buying labels that look nice, maybe something that your wine-loving friend told you about. It’s essentially a crap shoot, and many times, most times, it’s just ok. So when those moments of wine magic occur, it actually comes with a sense of pride. “I nailed it! Maybe I do know something about wine.” Then, with your next purchase, you come back to earth with another good-not-great selection.

While we can’t provide you with better friends to enjoy fantastic wine with, we do aim to focus on that one big element that makes up a great wine experience – wine quality. There’s no getting around it, wine experts know a thing or two about what makes a quality wine, and do a pretty good job of discerning between bad, good, and exceptional wines. While you may have a hard time with “notes of pencil” and other exotic terms to describe the aroma and flavor of wine, it’s important not to dismiss it out of hand. There’s certainly a good argument to be made that people have come to place way too much emphasis on whether Robert Parker or anyone else gives a wine a rating of 92 vs. 90, but if you concentrate on the big picture, wine experts can be a useful guide for capturing wine of good quality and value.

We’re realistic about our abilities in this vein. While we’ve been enjoying and seriously tasting wines now for several years, this is definitely one of those areas where the more you know, the more you realize that you don’t know. We’re still evolving in our abilities to taste wine and transfer what we taste into words on paper, but in the end we’ve got to try. Our goal is to help inform you about what wines we consider to be just average, good-not-great, or exceptional. We’ll be providing you with some broad descriptions of the types and styles of wines that are being produced by any given wine maker, as well as our tasting notes from selected wines.

Rather than taking tasting notes too literally, we’d encourage you to just read and imagine the personality of the wine being described. Are you really going to discern “undertones of rose water”, or “spices of sage and white pepper” when you taste the same wine that we review? Maybe not, but taken as a whole, the tasting notes are meant to provide a picture of the personality and character of the wine. We’d encourage you to listen to that character description and think about if you’d like to meet some character like that. If so, try it and see if your tastes match up with ours.

Most importantly, relax and have fun with it. Wine can be one of the great joys in life, so drink in the adventure!