First column

If you enjoy wine columns overflowing with statements such as “notes of blackcurrant, eucalyptus, and tobacco,” this wine column probably is not for you.

The Standard-Times gives me the privilege of writing a column aimed at the average West Texas wine drinker.

The column will visit basic facts about grapes, wines, wine makers, and wine drinkers with the intent to enhance your appreciation and knowledge of wine, not to equip you to be a wine snob.

I am fascinated by wine, but I’m no Robert Parker (the world’s most powerful wine critic) and never pretend to be. People enjoy different tastes and styles. If a wine tastes good to you, then it’s a good no matter how a wine expert responds.

We are blessed to live in the greatest era in the history of wine. Higher quality, greater affordability, more selection than ever before.

This astonishing blossom of quality and quantity parallels a massive shift in American tastes. U.S. wine consumption doubled the past decade. Six of 10 Americans now drink wine, more than half at least once a week. Some polls show Americans now prefer wine over beer. Beer still wins some polls, but a decade ago there would have been no question about beer’s dominance.

You are the target for this column if you like wine and want to know more about it. I’ll recommend a three wines each week with a simple description and prices rounded to a whole dollar. All recommend wines will be available in San Angelo.


• Grand Crú Cabernet Sauvignon. Medium body, light oak; great value. $5

• Yalumba Viognier Y Series. Floral, fruit, one of Australia’s oldest wineries. $10

• Columbia Crest Grand Estate Merlot. Velvety, spice, cherry, cocoa. $11