The respect for a fine wine | New Brief out, #154 | The Wine Newsletter

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Per Karlsson portrait Britt Karlsson portraitThe respect for a fine wine

Wine drinking has been democratized in the last 50 years. There are today wines in all price ranges, for all budgets, for all kinds of consumers. Screwcaps and bag in boxes have eliminated the ceremonial opening and serving of a wine. But one thing remains.

The respect for the “fine” wine. Or perhaps one should call it reverence? It sometimes verges on the religious… Old vintages, famous producers, famous vineyards. It happens to all of us at some point. A kind of reverence for the wine when you realize you have a grand cru or something similar in the glass.

Wine is a beverage. But wine is not “just” a beverage. If it were, there would be no wines in such extreme price ranges as there are. A wine can never be as good in itself – as “just a drink” – that it is worth 100, 500, 1000 euro or more. You pay for the uniqueness of a specific wine that is made in small quantities, or because it is world famous, or because it comes from a historic vineyard etc. Nothing wrong with that. But you have to see the label when you drink it and you have to know, understand, why the wine is so costly. To taste such blind wine is pretty useless (or interesting, depending on your point of view…). The taste alone does not motivate the price. You drink an experience, not just a glass of wine.

Perhaps these mega-expensive wines would not fare well in a blind tasting. Anything can happen in a blind tasting. A wine that costs 10 euro can get a higher score than one that costs 100 euro. In a blind tasting you will never consider anything worth more than a maximum of, say, 40 euro. (Nothing wrong with that, nor is it anything that should surprise you. Everyone’s judgement is influenced by knowing the name of the wine in the glass.)

On the other hand, this is precisely why wine is such a fascinating drink. There is a story behind it. It need not be grand history that goes far back in time. Sure, it can be interesting to know which Napoleon’s favourite wine was. But it is even more interesting to hear today’s wine growers tell you how passion and ambition can produce great wines. At prices that don’t have to be on par with exclusive antiques.

Britt & Per

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This post is also available in: Swedish

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