. Vite Vinifera De Vino's Blog: Options

Friday, November 17, 2006


One of the most common questions I’ve been asked so far is; “what is your favorite?”

Whatever the subject is wine, food, movies, color, or clothing my answer is always the same: I really don’t have favorites, but I do have options. On a personal level I don't like limiting my self to just a few choices. I love to choose considering as much information as I can. In the case of wine, the info can came from weather (you might not want to drink a cold Pinot Grigio at the North Pole in December), food, occasion, number of people and so on. Also, I usually never think about my taste because I tend to like or at least to appreciate a wide range of styles. Sometimes the style that I prefer less is the right one with the food that I’m about to eat. For example, I don’t really care for oaked Chardonnays, but with shell fish White Burgundy works great. Now, I do understand that asking for a favorite is a way to be guided, in my case, throughout a wall of wine, much of which is obscure and unheard of. But, when I get the question, I try to respond with questions and determine what kind of wine might suit the person shopping.

Also living not seeking for favorites helped me to explore more, tuning and developing my taste. And exploring helped me to understand better the essence of wine, and things in general, stimulating me to grow. When I was a kid I strongly grasped onto a black and white vision of life, and later, growing up, I discovered a million different shades of gray. I must say that the transition from one vision to the other wasn’t that smooth, but now I do appreciate things that before I used to strongly dislike. Then life brought me to select wines for a wine bar called Il Posto Accanto and the gray range became even wider. I was “forced” to experience wine that I never understood before; really, the entire new world was new to me. But now I can understand a big Zinfandel or a jammy Shyraz; they aren't necessarily going to be the wines I will drink the most but they are options in case the conditions require those flavors. Having options in your hand also allows you to appreciate differences, and that putting two different wines in competition, out of any context, can be pointless. What is better a Barolo or a Brunello, a California Cabernet or a Bordeaux? Who is better Petrus or Lafitte, Biondi Santi or Soldera, Ridge or Stag Leap? I’m sure most people will have a quick answer to each of hose questions, taking a stand for one or the other. But in my opinion, one doesn’t exclude the other, Barolo, Brunello, Petrus and Ridge are all good for different reasons and if one day you choose one it doesn’t mean that another day the other option won't be more appropriate.

In order to create options one must sometimes leave the "comfortable ground of the known," but I do believe that to live without choices is to risk living an inanimate life.

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