Is that sacrilegious? Only if it’s assumed that wine must be deep, complex and thought-provoking to be praiseworthy. But that’s a narrow view of a wine’s power, or maybe a cramped view of the various roles it can play.
Here at Wine School, we believe the beauty of wine is in its range and diversity. Exquisite bottles come from all over the world, from all sorts of grapes and in many different styles. The wines present themselves, like people, in all stages of life, from young, fresh and vibrant to old and evolved with a wisdom born only of time.
Each good wine, regardless of place of origin, style or age, has a moment when it can be the perfect bottle. Part of every wine lover’s education is learning how to identify the occasion and recognize what sort of wine it demands.
As a wise old friend once explained to me, “Sometimes a good Beaujolais is a better choice than La Tâche.” Did he mean that a young Beaujolais could be an objectively greater wine than La Tâche, one of the most revered and sought-after grand crus of Burgundy, made only by Domaine de la Romanée-Conti?
Of course not. He meant that at certain times, perhaps almost always, the simpler, more easily available bottle is preferable to the rare and precious wine.
I mention all this as an act of self-criticism. I should have talked about it earlier, when introducing these thirst-quenching wines, which the English call quaffers and the French, vins de soif. It seemed from many of the comments on this month’s subject that the idea of these wines was not satisfying.
Bill T. of Port Jefferson, N.Y., thought the idea of thirst quenchers was not exciting, and he had a suggestion. “I realize you are probably trying to give us exposure to all types of wines,” he said, “but perhaps throw some classic reds in between these outliers.”
I understand what he meant. He would prefer bottles that…