As the winner of last month’s MWWC, I got to pick the theme for this month. I’ll be honest, when I picked the theme I had no idea what I would write about but I knew it was a theme that could go so many different ways that it would lead to some great entries from our talented group of friendly competitors. I began to formulate ideas for an entry like I normally do by asking myself questions. What do I value about wine? What values do I hold to regarding wine? What makes wine valuable?
All great questions but it lead me to a more important one: How do things that I value end up intersecting with wine? I realized that this is the case more often than not. If I have a major life event, I celebrate with some wine. If am spending time with good friends we usually open a few bottles. The events and relationships that I value in my life also, surprisingly enough, also tend to have wine being poured.
Last weekend was my brother’s wedding which is why I was absent from my usual weekend post. It was so much fun to see old friends, catch up with neighbors and see family that live far away. They served terrible sparkling wine for the toast but it didn’t matter because the event was what I valued. Just the same way being with your best friend can make a boring day the most fun you have ever had, people you value can make a value wine into a wine you value! If you served me the same bottle of wine that was poured that day right now I could probably tear it apart and say really terrible things about it and I would probably be right. But, in that moment I wasn’t The Sybarite, I was just my brother’s best man giving a toast to him and his new wife.
This is one of the things I value most about wine. Sure, I try to get some wine into my belly as much as possible because I enjoy it for what it is, but it makes it so much better when it is shared with friends and we all discuss our different tasting notes. Enjoying something you love with people you love is what life is all about. I guess this would be what you could categorize as a value I hold regarding wine. If something is good, share it! That is generally the credo of this blog. I think this stuff is good so I am sharing with you hoping that you will try and it and think it is good also.
The world is full of value wines and valuable wines, but the two couldn’t be more disparate. Unfortunately, value wines get served at events, especially weddings, when you should be serving valuable wines. So what separates the two? Money is certainly an obvious answer, but how are value wines so prevalent and successful? I think they proliferate specifically because they generally are palatable to someone who doesn’t normally drink wine. They generally have a decent amount of residual sugar and don’t have strong flavor. Varietals or growing regions don’t make a bit of difference because value red tastes like red and value white tastes like white and they both taste like garbage to me. A lot of people don’t mind a $7 bottle of wine. I guess I am the weirdo. I don’t think that paying more for a wine makes it better or more valuable. I suppose if you really enjoy something and it only costs you a few dollars, that should be something you really value. For me, I try to search out things that aren’t going to break my wallet and I can serve to people who aren’t super serious about wine and not feel like I am wasting it on them, but also that wine veterans agree are incredibly yummy. There are plenty of them out there and the hunt for them is another thing I value about wine. It’s so much fun! Feeling like I am getting a high quality wine for a decent price is what makes a wine valuable to me. There isn’t a fixed dollar amount in my head for a value wine or a valuable wine. It’s always a sliding scale of what I feel I am getting for the price I paid versus the quality I feel I got. I have overpaid for bottles that cost me $20 and had others that cost me the same that I felt almost guilty about not paying more for.
I think value is a moving target when you are speaking about wine, for any interpretation of the word. That is why I picked this theme. One thing is for certain and that is that I love wine and I value it’s place in my life and if I can instill that value in another person then I have made this blog a success. In basically every other aspect of life it is generally a really bad idea to have a flexible value system. In wine, it certainly has some advantages. Don’t be snarky because your friend offered you a glass of a cheap bottle of wine or handed you a corona at a party. Your friend is still buying you a drink and that is certainly something to value.