I had another experience this week that reminded me of a big dilemma in any wine dweeb’s life – what happens if your tastes in wine can change over time.
The specific example was around a Spanish wine. Highly rated by Parker, mostly Tempranillo (a grape I have liked in the past), it should have been a very enjoyable experience. Instead, though, I kept trying to convince myself how good it was and, more importantly, how much I was enjoying it. Not a good sign. In the end, I gave up, and opened another bottle.
Don’t get me wrong – it’s not that the wine was bad or off. It just wasn’t the style that I liked, at least not anymore.
This has happened before to me, as I am sure it has for many wine drinkers. Red Bordeaux is the best example. When I first got into wine, it was Bordeaux that I was cellaring and – I think – I liked. But then, when I tried more and more California wines, something happened. Whether it was being seduced by the higher ripeness of the fruit or the rise in prices, Bordeaux gradually became less and less enjoyable. I finally ended up trading much of what I had left to a member of my wine club for BC Pinot Noir and Syrah.
The same thing has now happened over time with most Spanish wines. I used to buy – and drink – a lot of them, but over the last couple of years…well, it just isn’t working for me. A few I still enjoy, like Alexander Fernandez’s Pesquera. But even Rioja, which I used to be a huge fan of, has started to taste woody and herbal to me.
Why is this happening? Well, I don’t know any scientific reason for it. I don’t think the style of the wines has changed, as they have been made that way for centuries. Could be a change in taste buds as I get older. Could be I just like other wines better now. I don’t know.
But the potential implications for anyone who cellars wine are huge. What if your tastes change and you still have dozens or – even worse – hundreds of bottles of a kind of wine you no longer like? Yikes!
I’m not sure what the remedy is for this problem, aside from trying wines before you buy them (which can be very expensive) and drinking from your cellar on a regular basis to make sure you still like them. Then, if necessary, adjust your buying strategy as needed.
That’s what I have done. Bordeaux, Spain – both have significantly decreased, easily overtaken by Rhones, Shiraz’s and BC wines.
But, amazingly, the temptation remains! I picked up the 2009 Bordeaux release brochure today (look for my blog on Bordeaux next week). And, I have to admit, I scanned it to see which wines had the best balance between high ratings and reasonable prices.
Maybe I’ll just stop in next weekend and…no! Stop! I must have control….