Wine grapes are delicate and precious….no matter the variety, and style. Wine and wine grapes are precious and difficult to grow, to cultivate and to vinify.
Wine grapes unlike any other alcoholic beverage are 100% dependent on good or at least slightly cooperative weather to come to fruition. While our environment is very challenged today—it has always been a challenge.
Hail, snow, early frost, rain, too much moisture….too much sun, humidity and other upheavals have always been present and and will be with us in the future. And increased global temperature will certainly impact some wine regions more than others. It doesn’t mean that Zinfandel will necessarily be growing in Scandinavian countries in the near future. Wine grapes and where they are grown is complex now, has been and will continue to be that way.
The grain based or non-fruit dependent alcoholic beverages have it easier; once made they are good to go—transport, hang out on a shelf, not terrible afraid of brightly oppressive neon lights. But they will not transform or further develop in bottle like wine has the potentiality to do.
And it is one story for wine grapes to just come into the world and make it to the press and another for its vinification and even in its cellaring. Another equation is how do wines age—in general terms some better than others. The journey is to see what evolves and develops. Wine in a bottle is like people. We are different in every stages in our lives. When we might be presented as nearly perfect the flaws can develop. And the converse is true — I have had many a wine that seemed to be anything special but “time is the great physician” as Benjamin Disraeli once said. Time can make people better… the same is true for some and many wines. I have heard many people discount a wine and I alway point out maybe time lying down in the cellar can make for a treasure. Or what is your taste expectation–maybe thinking about aged wines not being like a youthful one.
James Halliday, the Australian wine writer, once said and I paraphrase from one of my first wine books I purchased years ago “when fruit becomes wine” as it relates to aged wines. Fruit is a delight and the aging of a wine can come unknown pleasures of enjoyment that all about sipping complexity.
A wine that tastes aged but also has evolved in ways of complexity and delight. There are a few very aged wines 25+ years that survive. It is fun when you are fortunate enough to have either held it yourself—-tasted from the library of a cellar or someone close to you that wants to share that wine.
I tasted many that have aged in 10-20 year range and I find great value when I taste several verticals—each vintage still shows through in terms of polish and pleasure; nuance and distinctiveness.
My question and belief is that the discounted wines are like discounted people: discarded without care or feedback. Do we set up our wines for failure without setting them up for success. Do we give an older wine a chance? Do we treat are wines with fear…or being willing to take a chance what you have (if a great wine) can be replicated by collecting more. Vintage does matter.
The bittersweet of a great bottle is that when it is finished that special moment is gone even if you have another bottle it may not be the same wine. Wine is individual— which is alluring as it is humbling even disappointing. Wine is like people and people like wine.
When was the last time you were wondering about that “-aged” Gin, vodka and beer?
Life is too delicate and precious; difficult and filled with adversity to not take a pause and even take a time out to appreciate….
I have been taught in my life with being around many loving friends and family members. Many challenges makes us who we are today. The challenges make us sharper, distinct and a person that is wildly resilient—when we look at aging we never use positive terms. A positive term—”vintaging” or “vintage” to each other supports a positive view of ourselves—there is value in learning… value in accumulating knowledge.
A dear person to me was diagnosed with cancer last year and I had to take a different frame—the challenge as developing a wine is for people to survive a disease —getting to remission is the goal. Life needs to be celebrated unto itself and the role modeling the positiveness of wine to our lives is to acknowledge the challenges, take account of our current hardships and trust that there are new and many vintages ahead.
I remind myself when feeling down or discouraged and too know challenge is all around and all the time. Life like wine is important. There are too people who produce wine… they are not all millionaires or lead glamorous lives—wine producers are challenged like any other agriculture professional. Life is complex; wine is complex.
Resiliency and steadfast belief in the future is both what wine is about and absolutely what life is about.
When you feel challenged or stressed there are symbols or emblems to look to at as reminders of not just surviving but to thrive. Wine is not made to just be made but an intertwining of our lives and history. Where wine first evolved in the Republic of Georgia eight millennia ago and every old world country especially westward and becoming a story of wine and a symbol to two prominent monotheistic religions. Even behind the religious symbolism is a symbolism based in life—about living.
I see wine as hope and promise in life and living ….. of what has been, is today and will be. And to keep me grounded and to keep me looking up in both hard and good times.
What does wine mean to you?
James the Wine Guy
Demystifying Wine…One Bottle at a Time from all wine regions around the world.
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