I dig this guy’s (well, assuming gender from the moniker Saucyman) writing.
My bias leans towards beer; wine has always remained a bit of a mystery to me. Beer is easy, heuristic; wine has always seemed like taking an SAT I am ill-prepared for, where I inevitably fail both the analytical (Zinfandel, Merlot or Cabernet? Provenance of Australian, French or Napa fields?) and the verbal section (buttery, vanilla, barnyard).
Ditto. I couldn’t agree more. Some insist that the initiate research their wine. Now they say “Drink what you like.”
Cool, but it’s not that easy. I have decent taste and all that, but a side effect of this taste (developed by drinking and brewing lots of good beer) is that wine-wise, I don’t always end up liking what I drink, or knowing what I like to drink. Do I know what to pair with a peppercorned ribeye? A Peppery Zin? I dunno, many of my wine instincts fall flat, forcing me to consult manuals that are encyclopedic, odd, and not terribly “drink what you like.” And I do drink a fair amount of wine. My “tastes” are such that I always want something better, but find myself feeling much more welcomed by the beer store owner than the wine store people. I should say that a friendly woman at Astor Wines put together a dynamite, inexpensive case of wine for me a while back.
Eric Asimov’s take is one I can relate to, though it is a nuanced one. At the end of the day, the best answer is perhaps “you could always go deeper.” In other words, with modest to great time and expense, anyone can parse the subtleties of great wine. You don’t have to to enjoy wine, but you may find that you like it!
“Beer initiates” play the same game, but are, I think, a little less goofy.
What SAUCYMAN brings to the table is that a certain breed of wine lover is weird and cultic. Just look at all the weirdo products associated with wine, from aerator-pours, countertop cellars to $300 champagne sabers! It’s a ritualized consumption based on excess, even if you pass on shearing off corks and risking shards in your glass. Meanwhile the French are drinking cheap, good wine out of tumblers and calling it a day.
Barring the various levels of Home brewing supplies (you can make something tasty for $50), beer lovers are going ‘crazy’ when they buy a kegerator or ‘special’ beer glasses, like the Michael Jackson tasting glasses, or a $15 Kwak glass (I must confess, I own a pair, and they rock). Not really the same level of crazy.
Read the rest of SAUCYMAN’s take on Grape vs. Grain.