Sunday, January 25, 2009

Knowing nothing and now knowing "something" about wine

Now that we are in the wine industry by virtue of Purple Teeth Cellars, we tend to get lots of questions about wine in general. We take these questions seriously because neither one of us grew up drinking wine, and to be considered an "expert" of some kind is pretty cool. But we’ll stress that wine is a very humbling topic. The more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. If you’ve asked us a question, chances are you have already heard us say that.

Just to give you some perspective of how I got started drinking wine, it didn’t start out so well. The only wine that ever seemed to be served growing up was during the Jewish holidays and it was the really bad Kosher wine (like Kedem). It just tasted like really awful Ocean Spray grape juice. If you ever tasted Kedem, you know exactly what I am talking about. Prior to 1996, my alcoholic beverages of choice were beer, wine coolers, hard stuff and the always cost-effective cider (thank you, London).

It was on a trip to Napa with Grandma Mollie and Cousin Claire that changed the game for me in April, 1996. The picture on the right is actually me having the eureka moment of “getting red wine” at the Hess Collection, and yes, it was Merlot for all of you Sideways snobs. As luck would have it, I was sent to live in Europe for awhile a few months later and started to really get a sense of it all – wine, cheese, food, etc.

Once I was back to living in the States, I took regular trips to Napa and Sonoma to learn more. You can read all you want about wine, but everyone’s palette is different so tasting and smelling it is the way you learn. So I continued to learn more about what I thought I liked and didn’t like. I also started using the same store for buying wines, so it helped when I would walk in and ask for a recommendation from my local "wine guy".

When I moved to Seattle in the beginning of 2003, I had no idea about wines in the Pacific Northwest (Washington, Oregon and British Columbia). Thanks to some trips to Woodinville (just outside of Seattle), Eastern Washington (Walla Walla, Tri-Cities) and Willamette Valley (Yamhill, Carlton), we know a decent amount about some of the local producers which comes in handy with many of the area restaurants.

Why is all of this relevant to you – is that what you are thinking? The thing is that unless you grew up on a vineyard and have it in your blood from generations of winemaking, we all started from the same place in terms of learning about wine. Knowing nothing. Whether you want to know enough about wine to make your own or you just want to be able to deal with a wine list at a high-end restaurant or you don’t drink wine but want to buy a bottle for a friend, we’re happy to answer questions.

Since we work in the wine industry, we’re ambassadors to the industry, so while we would love for you to buy Purple Teeth Cellars wine, we would rather you develop a lifelong affinity for wine. And if you end up buying our wine, awesome! If not, that’s ok too. Plenty of good wine labels out in the marketplace so there is something for everyone.

We’ll probably post some more entries on this topic based on questions we receive. While we’re not “wine experts” like Robert Parker, Jr., etc., we do know that some people can take the enjoyment out of having wine by being jerks (AKA “wine snobs”). But we can give you our perspective on how we have built our knowledge on wine and hopefully it can help you. After all, wine is meant to be enjoyed with family and friends – that’s why we created Purple Teeth Cellars! A bunch of my friends seem to belong to a group on Facebook – OMG I so need a glass of wine or I'm gonna sell my kids
– which I think is pretty funny.

So next time you have a question, ask away! We offer no guarantees, but we can relate to not necessarily knowing what to pick out when we want to bring a bottle to a friend’s house or to Thanksgiving dinner at an aunt’s house. And no matter what wine you are drinking, don't forget to flash those PURPLE TEETH when you're through.


posted by Jill B. @ 9:35 PM        0 Comments


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