Monthly Archives: December 2014

Five Things You Don’t Actually Need To Know About Wine

December 11, 2014

The complexities of taste
Is it necessary to don a very serious demeanor and attempt to name every aroma and taste component of your wine as you gently swirl it around your glass and palate? Studying the complex flavour profile of your wine is a lot less fun than drinking it. So don’t feel guilty in your ignorance of its seemingly infinite flavour components. There’s two words that are important here – yuck and yum! If yuck comes to mind, for goodness sake open a different bottle! If it’s – yum, relax and have another glass.

The grape varieties in it?
Does it matter and do you really know? In Australia, wines labelled as a certain grape and region must contain 85% of the label declaration. The other 15% can be made up of any variety or region. And grapes can produce a wide range of flavours: an elegant, spicy Shiraz from the Hunter Valley might not taste anything like a bold, jammy Shiraz from the Barossa Valley.

The year it was made
The weather each year and individual micro climates of vineyards will affect the way wine tastes, but not as much as who makes it. A bottle from a good vintage, made by a dubious winemaker, will pale in comparison to one made in a difficult vintage, by a winemaking team who give a damn, AKA Stomp’s team! So find the winemakers you like and ride the seasons with them.

How much it costs
There are plenty of expensive wines you can buy… but do you enjoy them? I have one gorgeous customer that swears our Sparkling Verdelho is better than any expensive French Champagne. It all comes down to personal preference, not how much it costs. And don’t think this is only true for inexperienced palates. Don’t think our winemaker craves an expensive, complex, top shelf glass of wine when he finishes his shift. Haven’t you heard the age old saying, “it takes a lot of beer to make good wine.”

How the grapes were grown
Ask any winemaker/viticulturist how each of their varieties of grapes are grown and they’ll talk endlessly about the soil conditions, what side of the slope the grapes were grown, trellising, canopy management, cropping levels … But really, unless you’re aiming to be Australia’s next trivia champion, does it change what you’re drinking?

So next time you enter a cellar door, don’t panic. All you need to know is already hardwired in your brain. You’ll either enjoy a wine or you won’t! Don’t worry about anything else. Leave the endless array of technical detail for the winemaker to worry about!