Now that I know a little bit about wine, I’ve come to understand just how much I don’t know. Before this I simply didn’t know what I didn’t know, and now that I kind of know what I don’t know, I realize the ones who do know actually know quite a bit. The people who do know how to appreciate and enjoy with discrimination the subtleties of wine are called wine connoisseurs.
If the wine connoisseurs are the black belts of knowledge in this realm, then I would have to consider myself to be in the white belt category. I’m learning, and what I’ve learned is that complexity is what makes a good wine great. So how can we determine its degree of complexity? As wine is exposed to air, its taste may change. As it “opens up,” the taste of the grape might be accompanied with hints of leather, tobacco, floral, spice, etc. These different layers can be detected by an educated palate. Also, after the wine is swallowed, the length of time one senses its presence varies. It may even have several stages of complexity, which can add to its allure. And a great wine always leaves you wanting more.
The great vintners understand this, and they know how to create and to manipulate their product. They want the wine they produce to be distinctive and enjoyable as well as much sought after by the aforementioned ones who know.
If you decide to collect wines, the goal should not be to have lots of bottles of ordinary wines. It should be to collect ones that are interesting and complex. This way, each bottle selected and ultimately enjoyed is a unique and exciting experience. A collector can take great comfort in knowing that the correct bottle is in his/her inventory close at hand and at the ready.