Home > Experiences, Life > Five Essential Traits of the Oenophile

Five Essential Traits of the Oenophile

Do you think all the wine lovers have something in common? Let’s take a look at some of the qualities which I believe, any oenophile possesses.

  1. Patience: I think this is single most important quality of the oenophile – one have to be able to wait. Mostly we are buying young wines, when they are released. If you want to truly enjoy the wine, you want to drink it when it is at its peak – which in turn means that you have to put that wine aside and wait for it to reach its best form. For example, it is considered that California Cabernets need about 13 years to reach their peak of maturity – can I rest my case? Patience has another virtue. Before you can start waiting for the wine to reach its peak, you have to get that wine. Have you heard of the mailing lists? This is how you get many great wines – Cayuse, Alban, Harlan, Bryant Family and many hundreds of others – are available only through the mailing lists. What’s a big deal about the mailing list (sounds so routine, right?) -not much,  just keep in mind, that there is a list to get onto the mailing list…
  2. Passion: Have you ever talked to oenophile about the wine? The eyes would lit up, and information will be flowing – grapes, growing season, winemaker, the rain and the heat, the taste, the emotion, the experience. Wine is a form of art – and the same way as poetry, music, paintings, photography, architecture – it solicits emotion and passion.
  3. Quick decision-making: when opportunity presents itself, oenophile have to be able to decide on the fly. Is this the wine I want? Is that a good year? Is that a good price? Sometimes, all this information should be processed within split seconds – if you ever tried to get a great true bargain at WTSO.com, you would understand. Spend a bit longer figuring out if that was a good vintage – and it is not relevant anymore, as the wine is gone.
  4. Good memory: In the simplest form, it supports previous quality – quick decision making. You need to remember good years and bad years (for instance, Bordeaux 2000 and 2005 were amazing, and 2002 is better be avoided), you have to remember the exact name of the wine (Peter Michael makes four Chardonnay wines designated as “Estate Vineyard, Knights Valley, Sonoma County” and distinguished only by name like “Belle Côte” or “Ma Belle-Fille” – you better remember which one did you liked more yesterday at the party). But good memory goes further than remembering only simple words or numbers – how about remembering the taste of your favorite wines? I believe oenophiles will be able to describe the taste of the wine they had 10 or 20 years ago – if it was memorable enough.
  5. Desire to share: We want to share our joy, we want to share our experiences, we want to share our best wines – with the people who will appreciate it. I don’t mean to sound snobby – but oenophiles often start from trying to convince the whole world that this particular wine is a pure joy – and the beer drinking part of the world might not see it like that (love the beer myself – there is nothing here against beer drinkers, they just prefer different beverage). Then oenophiles start to understand that they better share their experiences with like-minded people. But – once you strike the cord, everything is open and available. Soliciting “wow” from someone who just had a sip of what you deem one of the best wines on Earth (or at least in your cellar) – priceless.

How far off do you think I am? If you acclaim yourself as a wine lover (aficionado, connoisseur) – do you associate with any of these traits?

Please comment, and – Cheers!

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  1. September 10, 2012 at 1:32 am
  2. March 29, 2013 at 7:02 pm

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