Wine has played a huge role in my life, whether tasting it, drinking it, studying it, or simply sharing it with friends, family, and wine lovers around the world. Although I have other interests, wine seems to be the topic everyone wants to discuss with me or, perhaps, I am the one who feels compelled to speak of wine out of a sense of my own passion or the perceived expectations of others. Whatever the case, in the more than 40 years I have been enjoying wine and worked in the trade, two questions invariably ensue. Firstly, what is your favorite wine? Secondly, what are the most important things everyone should know about wine? The answer to the first question is simple: I don’t have one single favorite wine. Besides, I don’t drink wine that I don’t enjoy, so the wine in my glass is invariably my momentary favorite. The second question requires a more lengthy response and encapsulates what I have learned about wine and life in the previous four decades.
- Wine is meant to be enjoyed.
- Wine doesn’t mean much until it’s shared and someone else enjoys it, too, so share.
- You can’t drink a label, a price tag, or anyone else’s palate, only the contents of a bottle. All else is snobbery.
- Paying too much or too little for wine is a recipe for disappointment.
- Variety is truly the spice of life, so try new and different wines often; you will learn a tremendous amount about wine and your own palate.
- Food and wine are fast friends; each makes the other shine and doubles the pleasure.
- Pair different wines with the same dish to see which pairings work best.
- Trust your own palate.
- Drink wine from fine thin glassware that you wash and dry carefully by hand. Soap spots and water stains add nothing pleasurable to wine.
- Read about wine and the world’s wine regions from multiples sources, learn about the varietal connections that link Old and New World wines, and taste, taste, taste… but don’t forget to enjoy! Wine is not a contest.