Remembering Wines We Drink

Roberto Viernes
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Wednesday - October 03, 2007
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People always ask me, “How you remember all those wines that you taste?” Well, to be honest, I don’t. I can’t remember every single wine I have ever tasted. And frankly, I don’t think I have to.

I have tasted some of the greatest wines in the world,which left their indelible marks on my memory. There also are plenty of wines I remember because they were so bad! But there are plenty of unexciting, ho-hum wines that I don’t want to waste space for in my memory bank.

But I pose the question to you. How do you remember your wines?

There are some novel ideas for people to remember what they drink. A notebook in which people catalogue all the wines they have drunk is an amazing tool. I’ve seen people carrying them around, especially when they first start tasting wine. Then they begin to falter and the notebook somehow disappears after the first couple of years. For some, it becomes cumbersome. Who wants to write about a wine academically every time they taste a new one?

Yes, wine writers and critics like Robert Parker and Michael Broadbent must keep notes professionally, but most casual drinkers and enthusiasts have no need for such notes. Frankly, many wines defy the written word, they evoke more emotion and joy than prose can express. But it is certainly a good start.

Some people keep souvenirs of the wines that they really like. That’s cool too. I’ve seen some scrapbooks of trips where the traveler has taken the labels off the wines they drank. This is quite classy. Although nowadays, the glue is getting so good that it is almost impossible for people to take the labels off the bottles, especially the really collectible wines. These producers are afraid of counterfeiters stealing labels off their bottles and putting them on cheaper fakes and reselling them. That’s understandable when a bottle can fetch a four-digit price.

Corks are also a favorite way for people to remember the wines they drank. I’ve seen some really nice displays of corks. They make great hotplates, trivet boards or just display frames. But if you don’t assemble them properly, they usually just sit in some bucket, cup or bowl in your office collecting dust. Most corks also only list the producer of the wine. It is not big enough for them to brand all the information on it, so sometimes it doesn’t tell you exactly what you drank.

Others resort to keeping the bottles. I have to admit that I once had quite a collection on my “wall of fame.” But when I moved, they just became clutter, so I did away with them. I barely have room for my cellar; there was no way I was going to keep all those empty bottles. It was funny, because when I did have it, I would always have to choose which bottle was going to get dumped because there would always be another bottle that was considered for the wall of fame - ‘67 Yquem or ‘78 La Tache to the trash?

Photos are always great too. Almost every phone nowadays can snap a picture. I even see people recording notes on a voice recorder. Isn’t technology a cool thing?

But many producers are finding new ways for us to remember the wines we drink. There are wines now like Mollydooker that have tear-away stamps on the back label for you to keep; some have entire labels that tear off.

Catchy names like Evil and Bitch certainly get noticed. I like to remember wines with occasions, all of them being good ones, of course. I also remember wines when I associate them with the people with whom I drank them.

And just in case my palate memory fails me, I also keep a file in my computer of all the “good stuff.”

Memorable Wines: 2005 Qupe Bien Nacido Cuvee Blanc $18 is a delicious blend of Chardonnay and Viognier. It makes Chardonnay drinkers tickle with fruitiness. 2006 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $39 if you like Pinot Noir, you will love this seductive example with lush berry and spicy notes that linger. Lovely.

Roberto Viernes is a master sommelier. E-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
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