The Myth of the Sophisticated Palate: The Dubious Skill of Tasting Wine Blind

On TV, wine is often used as a prop to show sophistication.  Everyone has seen some form of the scene where, in an effort to impress, a character sniffs a glass and says “Cabernet Sauvignon, from Bordeaux...Pauillac...Chateau Lafite, and it’s from ‘75.  You can smell the effect of the rains that arrived just before harvest.”  Then the bottle is revealed and, what do you know?  Nailed it.  

This is complete nonsense.

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Expanding the Catalogue: What to do When You're Stuck in a Wine Rut

Wine and music have a lot in common.  They are both experiential and difficult to describe. Personal preferences vary widely.  There is no way to find either wine or music that you really enjoy other than to sit with it, revisit it, think about it, and ultimately decide whether it will become part of your personal catalogue.  But this takes time.  It is no coincidence that so many people discovered much of their favorite music during the early years of college, with the sudden arrival of free time, exposure to new friends, and consequently, new music.  The exploration of new music then slows and ultimately ossifies, until you find yourself typing John Mayer into Pandora -- no judgment!  

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Best by 2027: How to Know if Your Wine Gets Better With Age

As if buying the “right” wine wasn’t challenging enough, wine marketers are starting to focus on yet another indefinable wrinkle -- timing.  At the end of the ubiquitous tasting note, there is a “drink window”, for instance 2018 through 2027.  This window of time, often broad, is when the wine will supposedly be at its peak.  These hard numbers give the impression that before the drink window begins, the wine will not be ready, afterwards, poof, it will be too late to enjoy.  

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