Many years ago, I got to have my first taste of organized alcohol tasting. Thanks to RIT’s Hospitality Program and the wonderfulness of free credits, I had the opportunity to take many classes showing me the beauty of food and wine. This was something I was already deeply passionate about, but it’s so hard to make the strides that can be made in a class room with an educator that knows their stuff. While it started with Eric Wendorff, the executive chef for Wegmans teaching Foods of the World, it truly took off for me during Food and Wine Pairing with Holly Howell and Wines of the World I with Lorraine Hems.
There’s a discussion about catching ‘the wine bug’. It’s something that happens to some individuals when they start drinking and learning about wine, it inflicts it’s carry with unbridled passion, questionable decision making over how many bottles they taste, and a curiosity that’s claimed 8 of 9 lives for most felines. Wine lovers, especially the more prolific ones, usually seem to be an odd breed of people, especially the great ones like Oz Clarke or Gary Vaynerchuk. When it gets a chef, you can end up with people like Stephen Asprinio from Top Chef.
I have many friends who have picked up their ‘bugs’ as well. My friends Jeff and Kevin love beer with more gusto than anyone I know, and I’m waiting for their brewery. Some of my friends have found a way to make cupcakes that blow my minds, and probably could inspire a fairly successful bakery. I picked up a ‘whiskey affliction’ a ways back. Everyone has their poison, and for these people, to paraphrase Jerry Garcia, ‘Too much of anything is just enough.’
For me, wine has the honor of become one of those dubious things, enriching my life, but also challenge me daily to seeking new and exciting experience. If I have a philosophy, it’s been ‘Try everything once!’. This philosophy is unfortunately somewhat problematic.
This is kind of a compound issue, and it’s been growing for a while.
- Living at home: My parents do not share this philosophy. They are the school of thought, “If we drink Blackstone Merlot [and no offense to Blackstone], we can get it for $5 a bottle with mail in rebate!” This is of course wonderful, if you would like to drink Blackstone daily for months on end — I don’t.
- Extreme singular wine tasting, or palate burnout: I would like to think that I am able to taste and taste and taste, and not have effect me. Unfortunately as I learned in Australia, after 30 wines I can barely make astute observations. If I would like to taste wine in a judging capacity in the future, I am going to need to work on my tasting, writing, and diversity of experiences. This compounds with the tasting the same wine over and over, especially recently, I feel my palate has gotten in a rut.
- Try everything is nice, but I want to share!: I love the idea of trying everything, but if you can’t share the passion, then what’s the point. I want to be able to put out more helpful information about wine, and get more of the people I know, or don’t know (yet) to try more wine! It’s a great social experience, and it builds, “Hey, I tried that wine at your place, have you tried…”. Who doesn’t want that kind of feedback. Then there’s the old, “I need to find a wine for [event], what do you think?” It’s great to have the background and experience to help people make these decisions.
So with this in mind, I will be attempting to share what I’ve learned with the net, and with my buddy Greg. We’ll be posting results on: http://www.firstpourwine.com/
Feel free to give feedback, we look forward to hearing it!