Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Buy Wine: An Idiot's Guide

Blogger Keith Levenburg argues that, when you buy wine, you shouldn't buy what you like.
One of the mantras that experienced old hands like to repeat to new and learning collectors is, “Buy what you like.” This is absolutely terrible advice. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to end up with hundreds of bottles you won’t drink and can’t sell than to start out “buying what you like.”
Why? Because you are an idiot. Although, to be fair, this is mostly because your taste-buds are idiots. The more you taste wine, the more you'll learn to be able to tell the difference between good wines and bad. It's a matter of judgement, rather than a matter of taste.
When we decide we like a wine, we’ve done just that: we’ve decided it. It was an exercise in thinking—not only, and not even primarily, an exercise in tasting. We keep a mental checklist of what a good wine is supposed to offer, and we decide a wine is good when it manages to meet enough criteria on the list. And that means that the decision that we like the wine has very little to do with the way it tastes, and a lot to do with how we’ve populated that mental checklist.
It's a very good article, even if you haven't read too much Kant (thank God if you've avoided that fate). Check it out at his blog Cellar-Book.

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