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AND SO IT BEGINS

The first of the tasting reports is up, and another will follow before the week is out. Then there’ll be a pause as I wait for more samples to arrive. The largest bulge will occur over the summer, as the later-bottling German growers’ wines start to flood in.

I’m also working on an interview with a wine luminary known to most of you, and a few goodies have arisen from correspondence the last couple weeks, so I hope to continue being the font of surly wisdom you seem, for some reason, to tolerate.

Tasting “as a writer” is curious, at least for me. I was sharply aware of being extricated from the need to decide yes/no, would I offer or would I pass? If offering made the portfolio too muddled or repetitive, could I walk away from a wine I really liked? Should I stubbornly insist on offering a wine I was certain to like more than any of my more sensible customers? It was, believe me, a giant relief not to need to fuss over such things. But it will take more time before I can internalize that I’m not looking at an “agency,” I’m looking at a grower. It’s the same language, one could say, but another dialect; the same destination but another angle of approach.

I learned that left to my own devices I am not so much a slow taster as a slow writer among flavors, because flavors do not travel alone; they bring with them wild hosts of thoughts, feelings and images. I wonder how it will be to taste Rieslings, which are more demanding but which I have most deeply internalized.

One small note of an intermezzo-type nature; last night we drank a surprise bottle sent to me by a grower I worked with, a wine of whose existence I was unaware, and it was so insanely good I wanted to throw open the windows and Tarzan-yell to the world. I’ll tell you what it was, but first I want to know if there’s more of it. I’ll report as soon as I can. But wow, it isn’t often you get to taste the profundity of pure frivolousness that bottle conveyed.


This is the result of tasting whites and reds on the same afternoon:



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