Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Wine: WTF?

I don't understand wine. There are dozens of different varieties, all of which seem to taste relatively similar. Within any given type of wine, the prices can range over two orders of magnitude. Most confusing of all, there are countless different vineyards, and it seems like standard operating procedure to buy a different bottle of wine each time you go to the store.

I understand beer. While there are many different styles, they taste very different. No one could confuse a hefeweizen with a stout. Microbreweries are plentiful, but even a liquor store only carries a few dozen different brands, and they tend to be consistent over time. Afer sampling various types, I can state with confidence that I like Belgian-style ales and I strongly dislike pilsners and IPAs.

Maybe I'm shopping at the wrong stores, but Switzerland has a shockingly poor selection of beers. Denner might have more, but Coop's notion of an imported beer is Heineken. Yes, there's a small store by my house that has three or four shelving units filled with dusty bottles of Chimay, and a guy who looks like he spends most of the day reading by himself who enters your purchase by hand into a spiral-bound log book. I'm lazy, and I can't drink those giant bottles in one sitting without my head lolling about on my shoulders. So recently I've taken to drinking red wine, which is plentiful, good, and cheap in the supermarket.

I'm then confronted with the question: which bottle to purchase? My answer thus far has been to select whatever is on sale, which seems to have worked fairly well so far. Not that I can tell the difference between a 5 CHF, a 10 CHF, and a 15 CHF bottle of wine. My father buys these things on the basis of how attractive the label is, and that's worked as well for me as any other criterion. One time, I got a bottle of Notorious, and had the pleasure of singing the song that goes "Na, Na, Notorious! Notorious!" to which Sparkle Motion dances in Donnie Darko. Really, that more than outweighed any deficiencies of the wine itself.

I suppose I have noticed that I enjoy some bottles more than others. Eventually, perhaps I will act on these remembered preferences. But given that there are hundreds of bottles on the shelf, it's hard to even remember which ones were good and which were bad. I'd rather write frustrated rants here...

Please note: This post was written under the influence of Cune Crianza Rioja 2004. Please direct any complaints to:
Ctra. LogroƱo-Laguardia Km. 4,8
01300 Laguardia (Alava)

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