Sugar and the Mental Gymnastics of the Wine Drinker
I often wonder about the personal dynamics a person undergoes when their prejudices bump up against a reality that puts the lie to those prejudices. It turns out I find myself in just such a position. What I’ve found is that it’s best to embrace one’s convictions and let go of long held prejudices if peace of mind is one’s goal.
The prejudice: Simple Palates and Novice Wine Drinkers Like their Wine Sweet. Experienced Palates and Dedicated Wine Lovers Like their Wines Dry.
The Reality: Ive discovered that of late, no matter when I’m in the mood for wine, I find myself reaching for something sweet. And not just a slightly sweet Zinfandel, but a really sweet ice wine or dessert wine; Sauternes, Late Harvest Zin, Semillon infected with Noble Rot. The list is long, but it’s sweet.
I’ve found myself of late sipping Austrian Ice Wine and Sweet German Riesling as I go about my business in the office in the late afternoon. It is incredibly pleasant and has the additional bonus of usually being quite low in alcohol.
Yet on more than one occasion I’ve got this image of myself in my mind of an old lady sipping her afternoon sweet sherry. I don’t particularly like that image, I think because it doesn’t square with my long held opinion that I’m amongst the wine loving elite that drinks "serious" wine.
I wonder to what extent expectations of what it means to be a "wine drinker" weigh on those who may not consider themselves among the elite, but really do like their wine sweet. I wonder if these folks simply don’t want to be associated with the "Sweet Palates" and Old Lady Sherry Drinkers and as a result turn to drinking beer or bourbon.
I’ve always viewed sweet wines not only as being for those who aren’t "SERIOUS" wine drinkers but also as a "gateway wine" that can draw the uninitiated into the "Serious Wine Drinker" fold. In fact, whenever I open a sweet wine I make sure I give my kids a sip. My hope is they’ll grow up with good thoughts about wine running around their head.
My solution to my own prejudicial contradictions is to embrace them. I will drink these damned sweet wines as much as I want and I’ll do it with a smile on my face. And if anyone wants to call me less than serious about wine I can just as easily pour them a glass and dare them not to like it. Getting to this place in my mind actually took some mental gymnastics. But I got there with my self respect intact and with my superior attitude intact too.
I wonder however if that superior attitude that many serious wine drinkers have doesn’t too often drift out into the world of would-be-wine-consumers and turn them off.
I think it must.
On to the next Ice Wine….