by Paul Bressler
easy to listen to the first violin in a string quartet. You can pick it
out from the other instruments and listen just to it. It's a lot harder
to pick out the first violin in a symphony. It is usually just a part
of the larger whole, and there are times when it's supposed to be in
the background or at rest.
To relate that to
wine, think of the flavors as individual instruments. In a simple wine,
the few identifiable flavors are easy to pick out, even if you can't
identify them. In a more complex wine, the individual flavors are
harder to delineate, but the overall power of the wine is hard to miss.
do we mean by complexity? It can be defined as the number of different
flavors present in the wine, in concentrations high enough for you to
taste. The problem with judging wines chemically (more flavors = more
points) is that like an orchestra, everything still has to be
harmonious. An amazingly complex wine is still undrinkable if it has
tannins that will pucker your entire jaw. I'd rather drink a simple
wine with good balance and a few correct flavors than a complex wine
that is out of balance.
When it's right, though, a well-balanced, complex wine with the right
flavors will knock you out. Even if you can't identify the black cherry
flavor (for example), the way someone who is both a connoisseur and
an expert would, you can tell it is a special wine. Every now and then
I get to taste a wine that just does it. I wish I was expert enough to
describe the flavors, but I'm just left with a feeling: "This is the
way this wine is supposed to taste. If you gathered a hundred or a
thousand expert tasters, they would design a wine just like this."
are three wines that can serve to illustrate the point. Each is a very
well-made representative of what you would hope for in a wine of its
class. The least expensive is very direct, with a core of blue and
black fruit flavors and the classic Merlot undertones of chocolate. In
the middle is a wine that has very similar (but more intense) flavors,
and adds notes of spice and smoke. Finally, the most expensive of the
three adds still another layer of complexity. It shows the brown
flavors of briars and earth.
hope you'll try at least two of these so you can compare and contrast.
If these won't do it for you, call us and we'll help you pick out
others that will allow you to make a similar comparison.
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