Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Empty Bottle

I think I've discovered a way to tell whether a bottle of wine is good or not. I'm going to call it "the Empty Bottle" test (wood cut used by permission from Bergen's Sculpture Studio.) This isn't a scientific or even objective test of a wine's characteristics, just a highly subjective test that seems to work at my house.

This test involves the two wine drinkers in my household: my wife and me. My wife is not a wine geek by any measure. To her, wine smells like wine and she's not interested in discerning any other aroma. In fact, wine is for drinking not sniffing! For me, wine smells like wine, but I'm trying to learn to discern the components that make up that aroma. I'm getting to where I can pick out different wines by smelling but picking up distinct aromas is a stretch still.

My wife has a much more discerning palate than I do. She is a great cook and has been able to duplicate other people's recipes by tasting them once. To me, she is a culinary chemist, able to know how to season a meal by experience and taste. She is especially sensitive to bitter flavors. I am her culinary opposite. I can grill a steak and cook pancakes, and that's about it. My favorite thing to do with a meal is to mix it all together so that I get all the flavors of the meat, vegetables and potatoes/rice in one bite! I wonder if I've ruined my taste buds by the amount of pepper I've used.

My wife is not influenced by either the technical or historical aspects of a wine. Wine is for drinking, not a source of learning. I, however, could be influenced to like a wine because the grape can only be found in some far off corner of the world or because of a story about how the wine played a part in an obscure battle fought hundreds of years ago.

I relate all this because the two of us approach wine in a totally different way. Yet we both enjoy wine and if a bottle is really good, then it will be empty in one meal. I'll have a glass before supper is ready: sniffing, swirling, tasting and taking notes. We'll both have a glass or two with the meal. And if it's a really good wine, we'll finish it up after our meal as we sit and watch TV or read or whatever our evening activity is. A bottle that is empty on the same night it is open is how I know that a wine is great.

There have been a couple of these bottles at my house. Some have been Chardonnays, several have been Syrahs. I like when we find a bottle that passes the "Empty Bottle" test. It means we've shared a wine we both think is great, even if she just wants to drink it and I want to write about it!


Randy Caparoso: said...

Hey, I've enjoyed your posts. I'm using a ( for my wine posts. Maybe we can chat about various issues. Let me know?

Thanks, Randy

Anonymous said...

Interesting blog as for me. It would be great to read a bit more concerning that theme. Thanks for giving this data.
Sexy Lady
Escorts UK

Click to Watch WLTV

The latest wine library TV

Changing the wine world.