If You Evaluate Wine, Then Why Not Food?

February 21st, 2010 • No Comments

Contemplating Wine

This was a crazy week for me, so I’m just starting to wind down and think about it more. I was on the “Thunder Show” with Gary V on Monday (although it went up on Wednesday), traveled back to DC through the snow and began in earnest to market my book the rest of the week, with a small respite for a “Unique Spirits 101” class that I organized with my full-time gig TasteDC. I always like to look back at my week and try to sift through what was important, what I learned and if I need to avoid any situations. I sort of live in a bubble – all I care about is promoting my message – wine and food were meant to be together – and that’s become my life goal, better not get in the way!

I love wine, and I love food, so I’m in a bit of a quandary (a common state for me!)..why is it in the wine world that we try to evaluate and break down wine, but in the food world, it only happens in rare occasions such as competitions..a little vague, but let me explain. Whenever I’m teaching a class on wine like my “Wine Basics 101” class at TasteDC, attendees always ask me to “explain” what I’m tasting. People who are attending a wine class obviously want to learn more about wine, but I’m not sure why they want to know what I’m tasting – does it translate well to their taste buds? If I taste spearmint, blackberry and tobacco, and you taste peppermint, cranberry and honey, who’s right? By breaking down the components of the “taste” of wine, do I make it any easier for a beginner wine drinker to understand the wine? Will the attendee be empowered by the experience or intimidated, and ultimately, will it get the person to purchase more wine?

First of all, I don’t have the answer, that’s why I’m in a quandary – there is no answer, sometimes just looking at the question brings awareness to the situation (my Zen side!). So I posed an additional question to myself: if we break down wine into its individual parts, shouldn’t we do so for food as well? In my book “I Drink on the Job” I spend alot of time talking about the connection between food and wine. I have one quote – read it, consider it, make a picture of it in your mind:

Americans don’t seem to trust their sense of taste with wine. If you like steak, then you don’t need anyone to tell you if it’s good or not; you’ve enjoyed steak since you were young and you know what you like–medium or medium-rare, one-inch thick, two-inch, rib eye, filet or strip–even if someone else disagrees. We have no experience with wine as a culture, so we seek peer approval..

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