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Some Random or Not So Random Thoughts

wine splash via shutterstockI often wonder why some wines are more popular than others.  At first, the answer seems obvious and quite self explanatory.  After all, quality, like cream, rises to the top.  And given a choice and some experience, most seasoned wine drinkers choose the quality product, especially when price is not influencing their decision – either way.  Consequently, when tasting wines with our panel members, prices are never revealed until after the tasting.  Yet, I have to believe there’s something more to a wine’s popularity than overall quality.  Doesn’t style count for something?  I tend to think so.  If style didn’t matter, why do some Chardonnays of comparable price and quality outsell others?   And what about drink ability in a wine?   Drink ability is that certain something or more particularly that wonderful attribute in a wine that’s hard to define, but easy to recognize.  Rarely, does it appear in the biggest, boldest or most dramatic wine on the table, but in the wine that goes down ever so easily and continues to ingratiate the palate with its elegance and sensual charms.  Unlike some of the bigger, brawnier wines, a wine with that certain something (or je ne sais quoi as the French so elegantly say) doesn’t lose its luster after the first or second glass and begin to wear on the palate; instead, it’s a wine that becomes more alluring and easy to drink as the night goes on.  Pouilly-Fuissé and the finer white wines of Macon-Villages offer such drink ability, and more than a bit of style, too.  Good Pinot Noir has that quality as well.  When faced with a wine of tremendous size and stature versus one of eminent drink ability, I’ll often choose drink ability.  There’s something to be said for a wine that you or I could drink all night.  Besides, big isn’t always beautiful.

Don

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About the Author

Don Lahey's career in the wine industry spans over 30 years as an importer, author, consultant, and educator. He leads the tasting panel that selects our wines each month.

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