Before I get to the main topic of this post, I want to take a moment to rejoice with four (that I know of so far) friends from my blind tasting group here in Orlando who passed the Certified Sommelier exam in Tampa today! I’m so proud of them and of Orlando’s growing wine scene!
One of the things I love about wine is how often it surprises me – now that I’ve learned to let it.
A few weeks ago at my Tuesday night blind tasting at Swirlery Wine Bar in Orlando, we tried a lovely white wine, with apple and white flowers on the nose. The palate was expressive with peach, pear, and mineral notes, a round mouthfeel, and good, balanced acidity.
I liked this wine a lot.
I called it a 2-3 year old pinot gris from Willamette … but I wasn’t quite happy with that call. Willammette didn’t feel right somehow. My distant second choice was an unoaked chardonnay because of the apple notes and, again, the body … but I really thought this wine was a pinot gris.
Turns out, it was a 2014 Terlan pinot grigio from Italy’s Alto Adige region, just south of Austria and east of Switzerland.
Pinot grigio is the Italian word for pinot gris – both refer to the same grape. So I was right about the grape, but I never considered that it could be from Italy.
Why? Because I liked it. And I don’t like pinot grigio. Or at least that’s my general assumption.
Question your wine assumptions!
Too often, I – like most people – put my wine preferences into boxes. Over the years, I’ve uttered all of these generalizations:
I don’t like red wine.
I only like red wine.
I don’t like French wine.
I only like New World wine.
I only like Old World wine.
I don’t like sweet wine.
I don’t like Napa-style oaked, buttery chardonnay.
And of course …
I don’t like pinot grigio.
Many of those generalizations have turned out to be flat-out untrue – I had only to learn more about wine to disprove them.
Others generally do hold true when it comes to my personal taste. That’s especially the case for the last two on the list.
But experiences like the one I just described are teaching me to keep an open mind. I find there’s almost always an exception to my preconceived preferences … and it’s so exciting to discover them!
(As for my anti-Napa chard bias — I found my exception in Gary Farrell. It’s oaky and buttery, but it’s so well-made and well-balanced that it transcends my general dislike of the style.)
Bottom line, if you think there’s a category of wine you don’t like, you probably haven’t found the right wine in that category.
I hope, like me, that you’ll discover some delightful exceptions to to your taste assumptions. Happy hunting!
One more tidbit about Terlan and Alto Adige
Alto Adige is also known by its German name of Sudtirol, meaning South Tyrol. Interestingly, Terlan includes both designations on its label, which many Alto Adige wines do not.