Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Tasting Envy

This time, I'm not going to write about wine, per se. I'm going to write around wine. That is, write about the reaction you might have when you taste wine with knowledgeable friends. You wouldn't think so, but tasting wine with other winos can in fact be treacherous territory.

Yes, I'm talking about tasting envy. No, not the jealous grip in your gut when you read about a bunch of the happy few drinking 39 vintages of La Tâche - no, I mean the uncomfortable sensation of looking over the rim of your glass with narrowed eyes when someone you're tasting with "gets it"... maybe better than you do.

We were sitting in a ridiculously sun-filled apartment high over the quai de Grenelle, where a generous and somewhat eccentric wine-lover had invited a tiny cluster (read: 3) of us over for a Burgundy tasting.

Michel sniffed the 2003 Yves Darviot Beaune 1er cru "Clos des Mouches"... and the rest of this paragraph is not a tasting note, because he got it and I was slow. Sure, maybe by the time the wine started to open up in the glass I was catching up, but it was mostly thanks to his tip-offs.

Another day, I tasted a white Burgundy with Neil. "A little watery on the attack, and there's a strange kind of butterscotch spiked with lemon rind on the finish," he mused, before my brain had started processing what was going down my throat. Well, damn. Yes, that's right. Thanks. I'm going to go hide behind this stack of Veuve-Clicquot cases.

We can't always get there first, I know. I smile and nod. And of course, in the end, my only consolation is to think that maybe sometimes, somewhere, someone is thinking, "Damn, how did she get that?"


Gavin said...

Hi Sharon,

I can sympathise. I usually taste with people more experienced than I and it is often frustrating to see them recognise characteristics of the wine so quickly and confidently.

I've just been working les vendanges en Bourgogne. I presented a blind wine to a vigneron who nailed some aspects of its élevage. I interrogated him until he explained just how he was able to identify them so accurately. This seems to be the best way to learn about the intricacies of wine once the basics have been obtained. :)

Vinotas said...

Was that when we did the small tasting in July? ;->
Seriously, it's not about how fast you get it, it's about enjoying it at one's own pace and relaxing with the wine.

Anne said...

Hi Sharon,

I'm working at France Today, an american magazine about French cuture and travel. In our website we have a section where we reveal some original blogs about France written in english.
I found your blog "Sharon's wine", and I would be interested in asking you some questions in order to introduce the blog.
Can you help me by anwering to a little interview? Since we are in San Francisco and have to cope with the time difference, we can do it by mail!
Thanks by advance, if you have any question just let me know (my
Anne Clausse

Editorial Intern

France Today

944 Market Street, Ste. 706

San Francisco, CA 94102

415.981.9088 ext. 711

A Bon Vivant said...

I just came upon your blog and I really enjoy it. I, too, feel the same way about tasting sometimes - it always seems as if my wine-drinking friends are always quicker on the comprehension and identification...

but I have found that some of my most creative (and, ironically, accurate) tasting notes come from just letting go of the insecurities I have as a novice and just going for it!