Many people assume that wine professionals consume all styles of wine in their leisure time. I am here to tell you this is not so.
Wine professionals tend to respect all styles of wine. I.e. a wine can be well made, show all of the right varietal nuances it should as well as (what we call) a sense of place (terroir)), but it may not tickle our own fancy. Remember we are actually in the business of wine; while I don’t know anyone who isn’t also passionate about our field, the reality is, when we come home at the end of the day, having a glass of wine is not “new” to us – we’ve been working at it all day. Literally. (I’m sure I’ve said it before here, but there is a lot of crappy wine on the market. It is our job to suss it out and filter it out of the pipeline so that you, too, will not suffer.) As such, we are certainly apt to discriminate (possibly even more) when choosing a wine to enjoy at our leisure.
This all said, we are human, too. Our preferences can shift, just like yours. And respect can turn to personal appreciation.
For my part I’ve turned the corner this year in a few areas. One particularly worth noting as fall begins to knock on our door is Beaujolais. Beaujolais is a village in France that is part of Burgundy making a style of wine by the same name from a grape called Gamay. That’s right – while Burgundy should be directly associated with Chardonnay (on the white side of the spectrum) and Pinot Noir (on the red side of the spectrum), Beaujolais itself is an area that is just north of the Rhone. Its climate is its own, one where Gamay has its optimal home.
Beaujolais is perhaps known best for the unique winemaking style they employ there – carbonic maceration. Long story short, this process means that the grape juice ferments inside of the grape skins. This process creates a style of wine that is much higher toned, bursting with fruit and few tannins. Apply this process to an already fruity, high acid, light skinned grape (Gamay) and you have a wine that surely follows suit.
For a long time I could respect these wines but struggled to get on board despite the fact that there is actually a fairly dynamic range of flavors/styles within the Beaujolais category itself. (I’ll save those differences and why for another post.) Suffice it to say, I’ve turned the corner. We’ve encountered several wines of late that have less of the funky circus peanuts meets bubblegum flavor profile I find off-putting – so much so I’ve not only enjoyed several Beaujolais at home, but I’ve even found myself opting for it off of a wine list full of other desirable options!
My point today, dear reader, is you never know when you’re going to have a new appreciation for something even after years of being in your ‘rut’. So keep tasting, keep exploring, and keep an open mind! You are apt to discover new friends.