Typical. Guessing right again…?
They are easily counted, the times I have called a wine “typical” during the past year.
But what is typical?
Everyone who has attended a wine course has learned typical aromas for some of the most popular grape varieties: cedar and black currants for Cabernet Sauvignon, tar and charcuterie for Syrah, raspberry and strawberry for Pinot Noir, cherries for Sangiovese, petroleum for Riesling etc. But even if it sometimes is the case it is easy to be mistaken.
I don’t want to think about how many times I have mistaken a Bordeaux for a Burgundy (or vice versa) when tasting blind, just to take a classic example. Don’t believe he who says that it is easy or that he has never mixed them up. Rather, find yourself a new friend, since this one is not trustworthy.
The bitter truth is that few grape varieties have such clear characteristics that they shine through other influences like climate, vinification, oak ageing, etc.
We also have a large number of wines in the world that are blended with no dominating grape. And the New World’s warm climate completely changed the perception of the classic grape varieties. Today we also have wines with no or very little sulphur, which often completely obliterates the grape characteristics (as well as the sense of origin). The influence of oak on the wine is well known. When people describe a Tempranillo they actually often describe a Rioja.
Many grape varieties that have become popular in recent years, such as Grenache, Carignan, Viognier, Vermentino and others, have characters that are somewhat vague and easily influenced by terroir and by the the philosophy of the producer.
It’s always fun, though, to recognize a wine and it’s still possible, sometimes. But it is often another type of recognition. Instead of the grape, you recognize the structure, the freshness, the tannins, the texture, the body, the drinkability, the elegance. And it is rather through these characteristics that you recognize the quality of a wine.
In any case, when push comes to shove, what is important is not to guess correctly. It is, in fact, not very important. What is important is the joy and pleasure that you get out of what you drink. And that it gives some something to discuss with your dinner guests.
In this Brief you can find plenty to read. Christmas gift tips. News on organic wines. Portuguese grapes. Champagne. Bordeaux…
And most important of all, you will find all the info you need on our wine tours. We hope to see you on one of those next year.
Britt & Per
PS: Recommend to your friends to read the Brief !
This post is also available in: Swedish