Mike is a freelance wine and drinks writer and journalist, wine judge and presenter based in Sydney. Mike is the Editor-At-Large and contributor for the wine commentary site The WIne Front, wine and drinks of delicious magazine, a columnist/feature writer for Gourmet Traveller Wine and co-director of Australia’s first sustainable and artisan wine and produce fair Rootstock Sydney.
Of the many, many pieces of advice that have been espoused by famed wine critic, author, broadcaster and educator Jancis Robinson, there’s one that caught my eye this week - “there are no rights or wrongs in wine appreciation; you can’t be wrong if you just say what you think, because what you think is the most important thing”, or something to that effect.
I like this mantra.
I like the idea that the individual response to wine is the most intrinsic to enjoyment.
That should be the 11th commandment.
So often wine appreciation feels like the world’s most difficult language to learn.
Thousands of grape varieties, thousands of regional rules, pronunciations, understanding of sciences, learning of culture, the human element, and getting a hold on geography and climate.
These are all essentials in building the knowledge of wine, and fascinating, but sometimes what’s simply in glass and gullet trumps all.
I like to paraphrase Jancis when approaching wine education,
‘if you like it, drink it’.
‘If it feels right with what you’re eating, do it’
In the end, with who, with what, and where you’re drinking, all mesh together into that general sense of enjoyment. That appreciation.
Indeed, the whole concept of ‘wine appreciation’ is sometimes pretty weird, almost an ancient construct.
Isn’t the coupling of flavour and aroma to the sense of relaxation created by alcohol the message in the medium?
Sitting down. Revering the bottle. Silent consideration. Rarified air. Necessity to pull the wine apart. There’s a time and place for that, and I’ll put my hand up as sometimes participating, but I’m looking to a bright future of less intimidation and more intuition.
Here’s to the raising of glasses with friends without fear of folly.