A wine expert who finds fault with tasting notes, wine scores and blind tasting claims that “what’s missing in many people’s experience of wine is a simple sense of ease.”
We live in a golden age of wine drinking, writes New York Times chief wine critic Asimov, and he wants readers to experience “the pleasure of enjoying the wine, then the pleasure of learning about it.” The author offers up his own unlikely path to falling in love with wine by way of Austin, Chicago and New York City. Asimov discusses American wine culture and its shortcomings, many of which contribute to the wine anxiety of fledgling oenophiles. “American wine culture,” he writes, “ignores the simple emotional relationship with wine that is the basis for a lifelong attachment.” To further your wine education, Asimov recommends finding a good wine shop and asking a salesperson to select a mixed case of 12 different wines in the $15 to $20 range. Sit down and linger over these bottles, he writes, enjoy them with meals and friends and record your experiences. Order another case informed by your own notes. Once you have narrowed your focus, Asimov advises reading books and maybe taking a class to help organize your thoughts. The author considers wine an expression of culture, giving hints of the nature and meaning of the wine and the region. He has a soft spot in his heart for smaller, older vineyards that still embody perseverance, tradition and the local culture. “[A] great wine can be so expressive of its origins,” he writes, “of where the grapes are grown, and of the people who grew them and turned those grapes into wine.”
A friendly, well-written approach to enjoying wine, full of low-stress recommendations to help avoid wine anxiety.