How We Talk About Wines
To one who has had the opportunity to taste wines with a Burgundian vigneron as well as an American counterpart, there tends to be a startling contrast with respect to how each talks about Pinot noir. One speaks in French and the other in English! But even more significantly, the Burgundian spends more of his time focusing on the feel and taste of the wine while the American tends to focus on the aromas. I have thought much about this and have wondered whether it points to any basic difference in how we as Americans relate to wine relative to the French. Feel and taste is the dominant manner in which we all relate to food and to a Frenchman, wine is obviously food. But as Americans, our past and, unfortunately, much of our present relates to wine as, at best, merely an appendage to food and, at worse, as a sinful undertaking (ever heard of the term “sin tax”?). Could our focus on aroma be akin to how one would focus on forbidden fruit? I must admit to being very enchanted with the depth and diversity of aromas which are possible in wine. However, I have also come to see that as an accompaniment to food, feel and taste is more important. The next time that you happen upon a discussion about some particular wine, observe what the focus of the discussion is on!
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