Wineducation: Choosing Wine 4: Your ‘Wine Type’

Knowing your own ‘wine type’

To achieve your dreams, you must embrace adversity and make failure a regular part of your life. If you’re not failing, you’re probably not really moving forward.

The environmental and internal human factors governing our experiential interactions with all aspects of our world (including food and drink) are complex.

chemicals R us

A bit of science: We contain chemicals. Wine contains chemicals. There will be a ‘reaction’. The outcome of that reaction will vary according to the particular prevailing conditions at the time.

We all aim for a reaction that’s rewarding, pleasant. But it can go awry. Why? Body Chemistry is one part of the equation.

It fluctuates to varying degrees of predictability within certain rhythmic, and certain linear patterns.

Plus, the chemistry of wines is similarly not uniform.

Factors affecting taste

We have a chemistry that fluctuates depending on our natural rhythms. Women’s chemistry particularly varies during ovulation and menstrual cycles. Women have a different chemical make-up to men, who, to some degree (famously) attune to it or not (infamously). Hormones are at work in all of us; activated by glands fine tuning our performance, our moods, our chemistry.

as our body clock ticks…

We have a daily (diurnal) chemical balance that alters according to our activity patterns. Essentially, our body functions vary over the course of 24 hours affecting our chemistry, in turn affecting glandular activity and hormonal saturations which affect mood. Mood affects the experience of drinking wine. Even if one could control all the external factors affecting mood, one can’t control everything internal. Memories, for example are notoriously unreliable and we use these when choosing wine. I think I have wandered into a minefield.

Obviously, wine tastes better to most (if not all of us) in the evening when our daily rhythm is set to ‘digest’ and we are thirsty but relaxing. And less pleasant when you’re tired, in a bad mood, stressed, shopping or drinking milk.

If only that were all there was to it.

when the panellists can not agree…

Remember the Judgement of Paris in the 1976 blind tasting of Californian and French top echelon wine that set the wine world on fire by awarding US wines the top spot of each category? Spurrier noted that, “The results of a blind tasting cannot be predicted and will not even be reproduced the next day by the same panel tasting the same wines.” Why?

Wine, a concoction of various minerals, compounds and chemicals is also itself variable in composition. The very nature of being derived from a multitude of different grape varieties grown in differing soil types, cultivated varyingly and vinified in different ways leads to finished wine products, which, at the most basic levels, are pretty diverse compositionally and chemically.

It all ‘adds up’, when human emotions, stresses, illnesses, the affects of thought processes, lifestyle, habitat, weather, and eating habits are considered to a rather complex set of incalculable variants that no single computer can break down into a ten week wonder course on finding your ideal wine partner for life. Though in the search for a dollar, some do try.

A great idea which I haven’t seen it in action yet and would be enthralled to find out about is called The Wine Sign. Currently, this French method(e) is being introduced worldwide. It (cl)aims to help wine lovers better identify the types of wines they like. In a structured and predictable experiential session they seek to help clients identify what they like and then apply that to the process of selecting of wines. In a world of so much choice amid a dizzying array of non-uniform presentational formats it may just be the tool to guide some consumers through what many perceive to be a social minefield. Gobble-dee-gook?

wine made simple…?

This is what says: Nowadays, for wine consumers who want to buy wine, the most difficult thing to do is to choose a wine that fits their needs and taste buds, but in order to do so, they need to taste it. This is a daunting task, it could take an entire lifetime to taste each and every one of them, but of course, there are short-cuts. Most people probably know if they prefer red wines or white wines. They maybe even know whether they like red wines with lots of tannins or not. Of course, these criteria help a lot with the selection of wine but other classifications are definitely welcome. Here is a brief description of the Wine Sign concept and an analysis on the influence it has on wine business.

I shall watch the development of The Wine Sign with interest to see if it’s something likely to take off; and become a real a benefit to consumers (or just a silly ruse). I have nagging doubt about all the desire to make wine ‘simple’. I really hope the search for the ultimate ‘Wine: Made Simple‘ or ‘Idiots guide to buying wine’ doesn’t dumb down the wine experience for anyone , actually, because I for one am actually quite proud of how I have learned about wine; trial and improvement. I think its better sometimes when you have to work at something. After effort, everything (everything!) is better appreciated.

“Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.” Brian Tracy

The Wine Man December 2011

Next time: we look at how our tier system for wine gives a simple guiding hand. great chemistry and joy comes from…

If you can’t wait that long here are some ideas to help you get cracking with coming to grips with what pleasures are out there in the world of wine to be experienced. We have put together a number of mixed cases to help our customers (and the eager but apprehensive lurkers) in Shanghai make inroads into the many styles of wine available in the world. No longer be fixed to a single country or a single grape!

Go here to see more.

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