Dundee, Oregon is one my favorite places, it is in the center of the Yamhill Wine country. On multiple intersections there are signs encouraging those who are seeking “big bold reds” to visit some winery. At any quality retailer in Washington State the refrigerated section dedicated to domestic beer is likely to be heavily stocked with IPA’s challenging you with their hoppy bitterness, the stronger the better. Less obvious, but just as prevalent to those who are lured by good Scotch whisky, is the proclamation of peat and smoky taste.
Flavor, and taste are pleasures to be savored in all of their diversity, yet I fear that in our current propensity for competition and unisex-machismo we have turned drinking into a contact sport. “I drink white wine but have not worked my way up to reds,” is a frequent reply when I inquire if a person likes wine.
Let’s be clear, if you like wine of any color, you like wine. Some of the finest wines of Burgundy in France are from Chardonnay grapes — white. There are more Pilsners and lagers consumed in the world than ales, hoppy or not.
There is one rule about what to drink — drink what you like, with people you enjoy. Wine Spectator ratings are helpful, but only a guide; a wine in the 80’s is not vinegar, in fact it may be downright enjoyable. Yes, you often do “get what you pay for,” but price is only an indicator. I remember a $60 limited Oregon Chardonnay that we saved for a special occasion. It was good, but we both felt that the $20 label from the same vintner was just as good.
Should you try a big bold red, yes, absolutely! Because it is part of the pleasure to experience as many as you can, you may like it, but to drink it because you are supposed to, or because it is seen as some higher calling, not a good thing. TheWinesketcher loves bold reds, and hoppy brews, but for the flavor, not as a right of passage.
In the summer I drink less red wine than in the winter, rosé and white just work better on the sunny deck. Hoppy beers and pilsners work in the summer but when Fall arrives stouts and doppelbocks are a perfect match, along with a Barbera or a Malbec. (Oregon Pinot Noir is good year round.)
TheWinesketcher never tires of reminding the world that wine is a blessing from God, bringing people together, adding to the mystery we call taste. If you see me with my sketchpad at some winery, grab a glass of whatever you like most, sit down and join me. We may discuss taste and terroir, but I will toast whatever is in your glass and be grateful for making a new friend. Then tell me you read my blogs and I will do a sketch just for you, on the spot.