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Crisis in Wine

July 22, 2015 23 comments

MWWC_logoThis post is an entry for the 18th Monthly Wine Writing Challenge (#MWWC18), with the theme of “Crisis”. Previous themes in the order of appearance were: Transportation, Trouble, Possession, Oops, Feast, Mystery, Devotion, Luck, Fear, Value, Friend, Local, Serendipity, Tradition, Success, Finish, Epiphany.

Let me ask you a question – do you associate wine with crisis? Not really? Ahh, you are even puzzled why I asked? Let me elaborate. This question is not about “business of wine” – that part is self-evident. Every business has its crisis moments. Some are relatively small, like broken truck with day’s harvest of grapes, leaked barrel or malfunctioning bottling line. Some are bigger, like hail storm during July or a frost in late May. Some are huge, like earthquake in Napa valley or phylloxera epidemic. But – business problems “come with the territory” – the only way to avoid them is not to be in the business at all.

Now, my question about wine and crisis is not about the business, it is about people who like to drink wine. I mean, really like it. Those who make wine into a passion. They often referred to as oenophiles. Or wine aficionados. Or wine geeks. Depending on the circumstances, also known as “wine guy” or a “wine gal”; it is not foreign for them to be called a “wine snob”. Anyway, if you belong to this category, you already identified yourself. If you don’t (but you’re still reading this blog, so thank you), you know who I’m talking about. So I have to tell you that we, oenophile (yes, I closely identify as one), go hand in hand with crisis. We readily create the crisis around the wine, then we work our hardest to resolve it – and we feel proud and relieved that we actually did. Need examples? Here we go.

A wine oenophile is invited to the party (no, this is not a beginning of the anecdote). The bottle of wine is selected, with love and care, very often from one’s cellar, and oenophile almost arrives at the destination, when the horror thought takes over – “what if this bottle is corked, what am I going to do then??? Why did I forget to bring a second bottle, just in case, why?”. If you been there, done that, raise your hand. Have you ever contemplated a fallback solution “if this bottle is bad, I know where the nearby store is so I can quickly drive there and pick up something else”? Yep, oenophiles are crisis-prone like that.

A dear and wine loving friend is coming over to the oenophile’s house. Peering at hundreds bottle strong cellar, the thought process starts – “I think this bottle of Pinot should be good. But I don’t think she is into Pinot too much. May be the Cab? No, that might not work with the meal… Or may be that 1990 will do??? And then Amarone? No, no, no! I DON’T HAVE THE BOTTLE TO OPEN!!!” Do you feel the drama? Do you see the crisis once again, which requires a quick action – unquestionably it will be averted, and oenophile and the friend will be happy (unless the bottle(s) will be corked, but we don’t want to even go there), but the crisis is clearly there.

The simplest form of oenophile’s crisis might take place during the daily ritual of opening the bottle for the regular evening – after touching and pulling out tens of the bottles (from that hundreds bottle strong cellar), the spine-chilling thought comes in: “I don’t have the bottle I can or want to drink right now, what do I do?!?!”

There are many more crisis moments we can talk about – the horrifying moment at the restaurant, where after the 5th scan of the wine list oenophile realizes that there is nothing there which one want to drink or can afford; the process of selecting wine to pair well with food; looking at the rare bottle in the shop and thinking that you must buy it now or you will never see that vintage again. I’m sure you got my point by now (or even well before now), and I’m sure you even feel pity towards that oenophile who have to deal with crisis all so often. But – that is the best form of crisis, as it is immediately forgotten at the first sound of the popped cork and whiff of aroma accompanied by the words “ahh, this is good”. This is one form of crisis which oenophiles are happy to have in their lives – and I’m sure many people will be too. Cheers!

Wednesday’s Meritage – #MWWC18 Theme, Decanter Top Wines 2015, New Spanish Wine Video and more

July 15, 2015 6 comments

Meritage Time!

First and foremost, the theme of the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge #18 (#MWWC18) was announced by the winner of the previous round, Wayward Wine,  and it is … “Crisis“.  I don’t readily associate wine with crisis – thus I find this theme quite challenging. But so where many other themes before, and this is why it is called a “challenge”, so all we can do is to put on a crisis-handling hat and deal with it. Write, don’t wait – the submission deadline is Monday, July 27th, which is less than 2 weeks away… Crisis!

Decanter magazine is unquestionably one of the most influential publications in the wine consumer world.  Every year, Decanter conducts a competition and recognizes the best wines in the multiple categories with both international and regional awards. In 2015, the most prestigious award, called International Trophy, was awarded to the 35 wines out of 15,929 wines submitted for the competition between December 2014 and May 2015 – that sure sounds very impressive. The most interesting part for me was the fact that Australia, France and South Africa heavily dominated that list of 35, with Italy and Portugal been barely present, and US, Germany, Austria and many other winemaking countries absent completely. In any case, this makes it an interesting read, so here is the link where you can find complete information about competition process and awards.

Wines from Spain, an organization promotes the knowledge about Spanish wines worldwide, started a new series of videos, aimed to educate wine consumers about Spanish wines. The first video in the series introduces four of the popular Spanish grapes, and promises to come back with a lot more information. The video is short (less than 3 minutes) and very cute, so I would suggest that it’s worth your time – you can find the video here.

That is all I have for you for today – the glass is empty, but the refill is on the way. Cheers!

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