Wine don’ts

Suggested New Year’s resolutions to diminish instances of wine snobbery in 2021. Refrain from saying these things:

• “Goodness gracious, you drink sweet wine?” Some of greatest wines in the world are sweet—spätlese riesling, Madeira, sauternes, tokaji aszú. Even if your friend likes cheap and sweet, you don’t have to drink it, and you don’t have to put them down for their choice. Be an adult.

• “Champagne is Champagne only if it is from the Champagne region of France.” While this is true—as makers in the Champagne region of France constantly tell us—people have referred to sparkling wine as “champagne” for decades. Leave this correction alone. Keep the conversation bubbly rather than snarky.

• “Actually, it is pronounced….” Yes, “meritage” rhymes with “heritage” and has no French connection “meri–tahge.” Still, just move on. Same with names of obscure grapes and wine regions.

• “Screw cap? Really? I’ll pass.” Almost all wines from Australia and New Zealand now stopper with screw caps. Wineries all over the world have moved to more environmentally friendly, cork-taint-free closures. What matters is what is inside the bottle, not what is keeping it inside the bottle.

• “On the nose, I get freshly dewed grass trod by bare feet of nubile virgins. On the attack I get a honed Parker SR1 Barber Straight Razor on the tongue, followed by Lisbon lemon pith and grapefruit grown at an organic farm near Mission, Texas. What do you get?” Please. Let’s just enjoy the wine and not make this into a contest to see who can be the most obnoxious popinjay. Every palate is different. Wine drinking is a convivial experience, not a contest.

• “Merlot! I’m not drinking any #%%@&ing merlot!” Yes, that is great scene from the movie Sideways. Miles hates merlot because his ex-wife drank merlot, not because merlot is bad wine. One of the world’s best and most expensive wines—Château Pétrus—is 100% merlot. Unless you carry a chip on your shoulder about a merlot-drinking ex-spouse, chuckle about the scene from the 2004 movie and move on.

Tasting notes:

• Château Carbonneau Cuvée Classique, Sainte-Foy Côtes de Bordeaux 2016: Vivid, tasty fruits with easy going tannins and acidity; 85% merlot. $12-15 Link to my review

• Beringer Quantum Red Wine, Napa Valley 2017: Polished, fruit-forward, serious red blend led by cabernet sauvignon. $50-65 Link to my review

Last round: While enjoying a nice glass of wine, I watched a program about beavers. It was the best dam program I’ve ever seen.