The Zenith of Wine Education
You are lucky.
You are living in a golden age of wine. Wines from the New World (the Americas, Africa and Australasia) are more diverse, exciting and distinguished than ever before. Wines from the Old World, i.e. Europe, have responded to increased competition with more quality and consistency. It’s a win-win for all American wine lovers because we are fortunate enough to have access to a range of wines from around the globe.
You are also living in THE golden age of wine education. New wine magazines, events, organizations, books, blogs, forums and podcasts are constantly popping up to keep up with our voracious appetite for wine knowledge. Classrooms are filling up like never before as wine aficionados sign up for wine courses at a record pace. It might be hard to imagine, but this wasn’t always the case. The Internet is completely revolutionizing how we communicate about wine.
Knowing wine used to be like being a member of a club. You needed to pay your dues and know the secret handshake. If you hadn’t mastered arcane trivia like the 33 Grand Crus of Burgundy, the complete Bordeaux 1855 classification, the ins and outs of every AVA in Napa County, and the aging requirements of Rioja, Barolo and Brunello, you didn’t know your wine. If you still believe that these details are critical wine knowledge, I’ve got a bridge to Brooklyn that you might want to look at…
Your wine journey must begin and end in the same place: finding out what you like and don’t like. The bad news is that no one else can tell you what you should and shouldn’t drink – you’ll have to figure it out for yourself. The good news is that this process is, for the most part, enjoyable as it requires tasting a large number of diverse wines! Additionally, the process is never complete since no one can ever try all of the world’s wines.
Knowing what you are drinking goes hand in hand with discovering your likes and dislikes. How does a Chardonnay differ from a Riesling. Why do most Old World wines taste more mineral and earthy while New World examples taste richer and fruitier. Why do we care about vintages? Or should we not care about them? As you taste more wines and read more about wine in general, all of these themes can be explored. But beware, for every fact and hard truth about wine, there are at least dozen subjective opinions.
When you’re ready, you’ll have to take the final and most subjective step of all – knowing what quality means to wine. But there are no absolutes. You are going to agree with some family members, friends, reviewers and critics about some wines and think others are off their rocker. That is how it is supposed to be.
Now I said the journey ends back where you’ve started with your likes and dislikes. How does that work? When you’re able to say that you like a wine even though you know it doesn’t have 95 points, or that a wine isn’t for you despite it being lauded as one of the very best in the world, you, your wine judgment and your palate are getting somewhere. After all, why are you ultimately drinking wine if not your enjoyment?
At Lot18 we are driven by one goal: to make you enjoy wine more. We’re going to do it by sourcing the very best wines of the earth. (See Dini Rao’s blog on sourcing the best wines on earth.) We’re going to make them available to you at the best prices. We’re also going to make your buying as simple and easy as possible. Most importantly, we’re going to demystify the world of wine with a variety of exciting yet straightforward educational tools, reviews, and content so that you can enjoy your wine more.
You are lucky.