I most often describe myself as a wine nerd. But, what does the term “nerd” even mean? Aside from all sorts of comical attributes given to it through late 20th century pop culture, nerds are usually people who obsess about a particular topic. They go in depth studying it, learn about the details and get buried under the layers of the story. Wine is a perfect thing to nerd about. It offers plenty of material to dig through. Vineyard location, soil composition, variety characteristics, vintage, harvesting procedure, winemaking techniques used, aging, serving… it all adds up to what you find in the glass of wine. With so much needed to create this amazing potion, is it any wonder wine has such a loyal following of likeminded obsessive individuals?
What if you’re not a nerd? Does this mean you are excused from knowing anything about the wine you’re buying or ordering? Perhaps it does. But if you took the time to learn about it just a bit, you would get so much more out of it.
One things that never ceases to amaze me is just how little people who drink wine regularly know about it. Many of them remain completely uninformed. In fact, many will sneer at you if you offer them any bit of information about the wine they’re drinking it or, God forbid, ask them a question about it.
„I don’t care about that stuff, I know what I like!“
Do you, really? I’ll bet you anything 5 out of 6 people who say they know what they like, actually have no clue what wine is right for them. Often they simply tried a nice Merlot or Cab once upon a time and decided that’s what they like and when they get served a merlot that’s significantly different than the one they tried, they just call it a bad merlot. Many of these people would probably enjoy tempranillo or blaufränkisch more than the variety they always order, but have simply never had enough curiosity to try them.
What I’m trying to say is, it pays to know about wine. Knowing how to choose the right wine for yourself to drink on its own or to accompany a meal you’re having is a great weapon to have in the never ending quest for satisfaction. Let’s be honest, any bottle you buy or glass you order is an investment of your time and money. Why leave the result to chance? If you argue social situation are all about the company you’re with, not the wine or food, I’ll have to disagree. Of course, there’s nothing better than being surrounded by great people, but when you throw food or wine into the mix, it does matter. I’m pretty certain it is impossible to fully enjoy a dinner with friends in a restaurant that served you lousy food or wine and had rude staff. It matters. Wine in social situations matters. Also, who says you always have to drink wine in groups? Haven’t you ever had a nice glass of wine by yourself and enjoyed the experience? I know I have.
There is an overwhelming trend of placing emphasis on knowing what you eat. It shouldn’t be any different with what you drink. Know your wine. It will make you notice it more and consequently appreciate it more. There is a backstory to every wine you’re drinking and unlike many of the food items on your plate – it’s usually a nice story.
*Great ways to get more in-depth knowledge about wine are various courses. WSET – Wine and Spirit Education Trust is my school of choice and I wholeheartedly recommend it. Other than that, check out Court of Master Sommeliers as well.