Friday, January 15, 2010

Sharing Wine with Wine Geeks

I'm finding that it is much easier to pick wines to drink with friends that aren't big wine drinkers. They're easy to please, and knowing that my palate is more experienced than theirs, I know that anything I've liked enough to purchase is probably going to taste just fine to them.

On the other hand, picking wine to drink with our wine geek friends is much more difficult. I'm constantly critiquing myself on my selections, and always feel like I need to impress them with what I bring. If its not old, foreign, or a cult wine, it just doesn't feel like its good enough.

Now, I'm sure that this is pressure I'm putting on myself without reason. When I think about it logically, it makes no sense. My wine geek friends aren't a judgemental group, and its not like I'm picking Yellowtail or Two-Buck Chuck (which have their place in the market). I guess its just that I've been impressed enough times with what I drink when in their company, that I want to be sure I bring the same amount of "thunder" to the table.

To alleve this pressure, maybe I should bring some "secret" bottles to share. Wrap them in paper so what they are cannot be deduced before tasting, and see what kind of reactions I get. Maybe that's the way that wine should be shared between friends, with only the wine speaking for itself and my palate, not the label or reputation.


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Michelle said...

Being back in Boise with fewer wine nerd friends has made both Scott and me miss the company of those who are geeky and exacting. One thing to keep in mind: most real wine geeks take great pleasure in the discovery, or re-discovery, of wine. It's always exciting to come across something new and entirely bizarre, but it's almost equally fun to remember just how good that favorite $10 cheap bottle or some of the more familiar regions can be. I love those few and far between wines that leave me speechless, but I take comfort in some of the everyday bottles shared with friends who appreciate it as much as I do. One of my favorite things about working at Vinopolis was when Brian and I would open a bottle after Dan left and just enjoy it together. Sometimes Scott would swing by, and we'd have to tuck it out of the way when customers would come in, but it was always enjoyable, whether we were having dreadful New Jersey Cabernet, 30 year old German Sekt or cheap rosé.

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Ryan said...

I find that it's just as difficult sometimes to pick wines for friends who aren't wine geeks. That, and then it's harder for them to explain why they don't like it. Personally I enjoy getting that feedback though as it gives me another perspective on wine that I know in really just one fashion - my "fancy" educated vocabulary. It's nice to get tasting notes that aren't exactly the same as what I might say. And while I want to help people translate that into "wine-speak" I think it's just as important for me to learn the "consumer-ese."

Overall, I wouldn't worry too much about picking wines for geeks or not. Like you said, if your friends aren't judgmental (well, we all are to a point) then it'll be fine. I think it's best to share what you enjoy because then they have the opportunity to know your palate better.