Am I just impossible? Do my opinions keep me chained to prejudices? Or is mine merely a case of good instinct. Good question.
Here's the situation: driving up to the HR winery (names changed to protect the nice) and confronting their fancy, relatively glitzy tasting room, I was set up to hate the wines.Then, when I bumped into a pack of people from Gallo touring the winery I was convinced of it. When I saw a happy shopper with a Sideways baseball cap I knew it without a doubt.
The winemaker roped me into barrel sampling and I couldnít find an escape hatch fast enough. And so, down to the barrel room we went, he, with wine thief in hand.
I thought I was being poisoned even before the first spit. The horrible acidulation grabbed me in the back of my throat. The highly sulfured wines kept me sneezing. And then there were choking, pencil-like tannins. I finally pretended to put the wine in my mouth. But the good news is because I could identify the techniques utilized by the winemaker, I could ask more directed questions in a non-threatening way. Such as " How do you know when to add the tannins?"
The answer he gave me? He likes using chestnut tannins. I never heard of that one. Then he told me his philosophy. "I put everything in the wine at the beginning. Acid, tannin, wood chips. That way I can take things out in the end instead of adding them in. Itís like making a rich soup."
I like that one. A rich soup. A little parsnip, lots of dill and soup greens. Lots of garlic and parmesan rinds and donít forget the caramelized onions. If it works for soup, why not wine?
The only problem here is that I believe the winery thinks it makes "fine wine." The winery makes industrial wine. We have an issue here of identity confusion.
Perhaps a dose of wine therapy would help.
End Part Three