Saturday, May 14, 2016
So, I don’t purport to know everything about wine, nor even a smidgen, as the more you learn, the more you realize that you don’t know about it. However, like some others, I have delved to discover more than the basic consumer, and in this, I am astounded by how much people who are in the business of selling wine either misinform others or try to gloss over important aspects about wines, thus doing equally the same disservice.
I recently attended a Sip and Mingle at the local Total Wine and Spirits in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and the focus was on Spanish and Portuguese wines. Now, as I arrived fifteen minutes into it, I don’t know what was said before I got there, but the gentleman leading the session was someone whom I have clashed before previously on a certain grape; essentially he tried to tell me two things which he in fact was wrong on both, and he had no idea that this was one of my favorite grapes, so it would be one I actually would know a lot about.
As he led the discussion, while he did point out something wonderful about the grades/classes of Rioja, he totally screwed up when discussing Portugal, its wine making regions, and two of its most known styles of wine, Port and Vinho Verde.
Now, one of my greatest experiences was traveling to Portugal this year to attend SISAB, which is a trade show featuring wine, spirits, food and several other things. To start the trip off, we spent two days in the Douro region, which is where they make Port. Between visiting three wineries those first two days and attending a Port tasting and seminar at the convention, I learned a slew of information about this style of wine that I didn’t know after ten years of drinking it sporadically. So, you know that I was really miffed when he stated something contrite as to say that the contents of one wine was exactly what they use in Port, when Port is so much more complex.
Second was his telling the crowd that Vinho Verde is made from Albarino, which is so incorrect that I wanted to walk up and slap the taste out of his mouth. Not only is Albarino not used in it, but if someone believed his words and they didn’t like it, or didn’t like Albarino, then it would mean that they would easily associate one with the other and choose to purchase neither in case they didn’t like one of them.
Of course, he did say that there were three major wine producing regions in Portugal, which was funny because I have always had fourteen of them shown to me.
To wit, going into a wine store is an interesting proposition even to the people that know enough information about what they are looking for, but it is a fool’s gambit for those that know next to nothing. Time and time again I have witnessed store employees either offer bad advice, the wrong advice, or no advice at all when it comes to wine shopping, and honestly they are the one crucial link that can actually evolve the wine consumer. It is a shame when they don’t know what they are talking about and relay that information.
Oh well, I have a plan to fix that!
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