A Love Affair Begins
I can still remember my first sip of wine. Well, really, it was more like a slug or three. It was a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon in the hills surrounding the small city of Perth, Western Australia, were my family and I were visiting the local winery after having devoured a lovely picnic in bush-land nearby. While the adults sat on high bar stools sipping a myriad of wines and discussing the various attributes of each, my sister and I were hatching a cunning plan on the slate floor behind. Eying up the tiny wine tasting glasses, we decided to give those intriguing red and yellow drinks a try. So, while my parents were deep in conversation, our little hands slid up the bar to the glasses where upon the contents were drained and the glasses quickly replaced. It didn't taste too bad! In fact it was quite good, even to our infant palates. One taste led to another, then another. Some undetermined time later, alerted by the sound of uncontrolled giggles, my parents turned around to see us rolling on the floor laughing ourselves silly. I learnt a little about wine that day, and a lot about being tipsy! I was four years old.
After a break of some 14 years or so (the law in Australia allows drinking at the age of 18), I discovered wine again on a tour of the vineyards. I was surprised and delighted to find that there were wines out there that did not suck my mouth dry or cause involuntary facial contortions. Not all wines were strong in flavor either, and there were even some sweeter ones, which suited my tastes quite well at the time.
And so started my love of wines.
Like most people, I always found choosing wines intimidating. All the bottles looked the same to me; the only difference was the color of the fluid within. And there were so many grape varieties, vineyards, and years from which to choose! I would look at the seemingly endless rows of wine bottles and wonder how on earth I was ever supposed to choose just one for the BBQ I was attending that afternoon. And the wine critics notes rarely helped either because the language was so flowery and pretentious that I couldn't work out if they were talking about a wine or some field of wheat after a downpour. More often than not I would give up and buy a six-pack of beer and scurry out, telling myself I didn't really like wine anyway!
I am definitely no wine expert, but I know what I like. What is clear to me after many years of trying the stuff is that everyone likes different things in a wine, and our tastes are not stagnant, in fact they evolve constantly. These two points are fundamental when choosing and enjoying wine. I am hoping that over the next little while you and I can share a few ideas and opinions on the various wines that are available on our shelves (who wants reviews of things we can't get?). What I hope is to be able to give you good, honest and above all, understandable reviews that help you choose what YOU like best. Most of all I would like to take away some of the mystery and confusion surrounding wine tasting and potentially open up a new world to some.