Sometimes appreciating wine is like spending time with a praying mantis: You find yourself getting ready for a quality evening with a bottle you just know you’re going to love, when suddenly it turns on you and eats your head.
This happened to me earlier this week when I tasted an old favorite of mine. This was a wine I’ve brought to parties, gave as gifts, and shared with friends many times over many dinners. Although it had been a few years, I had no doubt that it would deliver. It always did. The moment it touch my lips, however, I became immediately confused. And not in a “did I remember to take my vitamin this morning?” sort of way. No. I mean in more of a “get stoned on absinthe while watching Polish acrobats” sort of way (That’s kind of a long story–no, actually it’s not. I got stoned on absinth once while watching Polish acrobats and it freaked me out. Right out). Anyway, what was once one of my solid, go-to wine choices now had the same effect on me as my Grandmother’s creamed corn—the only recipe I am aware of which is inspired entirely by vomit.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about drinking wine, it’s that tastes change over time. Thinking back to some of my early wine favorites is much like thinking back to some of my old girlfriends: I’m left wondering just what the hell I was thinking. How was I ever so attracted to some of those over-processed, over-manipulated Cabernets? How I was ever so attracted to that girl with the huge African lip disc? What the hell was I thinking? Yes, my tastes have changed.
I like to think that these changes in preferences are due to my becoming more wine-educated. I like to think I’m becoming more refined through the years, more discerning in my palate, but considering I’m the guy who still belches the entire alphabet at parties and runs away when his wife catches him eating frosting off the cake with a spoon, that logic may be a little optimistic.
This week’s recommendation:
Barone Ricasoli 2009, Chianti ($14.99): Although Chianti has faded in and out of favor through the years, BR has NEVER let me down. With an awesome spiciness and bold cherry flavors, this Chianti will always taste good–just like belching the entire alphabet will always be funny.