There are some amazing wine writers out there- fabulous blogs and websites where a person can learn everything they ever wanted to know about wine, beer, spirits… you can learn how to grow grapes, how to make wine, what is organic or biodynamic wine… why should you pair pinot noir if you feel like a red instead of a white… There is so much information at the tips of your fingers, of varying levels of complexity and depth.
So why the hell am I adding to that almost overwhelming number of writers who feel like their words are interesting and important enough to take your time reading?
Well, the really honest answer to that is probably a simple, because I want to.
So maybe the real question is why the hell should you read this blog, either along with or instead of the other ones out there? Because while I adore wine and take it as seriously as anything else in this world (i.e., not particularly seriously), I feel like I’m still towards the beginning of my journey. I’m not coming to you as a seasoned professional with 10 years as a Sommelier or years of importing wine. I’ve only just recently passed the first level exam offered by the Wine and Spirits Education Trust- I have three more levels and a thesis to go before I get my Diploma. And while I’ve been cooking semi-professionally for about 11 years now, I’ve only been drinking for about 8 (yep, I’m a recovering Mormon)- and only got “serious” about it three years ago.
So I’m studying- I’m reading, I’m watching videos, listening to podcasts. I’m swirling, sniffing, sipping all over the place, as many wines, beers and cocktails as I can as I try to unlock some of the magic, the romance and the mystery that is in every bottle I open. That’s it- I’m trying to strip away some of the pretension and insanity and really figure out this amazing world of wine.
And maybe the most important reason why you should read this blog is because I want to have some fun while I’m doing this. I want to keep it real- I’m tired of wine reviews that constantly use words and phrases like “elegant finish”, “angular” and “opulent.” What the hell do any of those things mean? Well, who knows, maybe I’ll spend some time trying to figure that out (I’m really interested in exploring the terms “chewy” and “unctuous”). But let’s cut out the bullshit in wine tasting- I honestly believe you can drink and appreciate and know wine as an educated person, without becoming an insufferable snob that waxes on about “mouth feel” and phenolic compounds while refusing to use words like “delicious” and “complex” and “bangin”…
Look, there is a place for that kind of formality. If I was a Sommelier at a Michelin star restaurant, or if I was writing for the Guild of Sommeliers, I would write more like that. But that’s not what I want to do here. I’m not above a boxed wine (I mean, fuck Franzia Chablis, yes- but bring me some Bota or some Black Box and you’ve got a Saturday afternoon in the pool in my opinion). I love a screw top on a busy weeknight, especially if I’m cooking and forgot to open before my hands are a giant gummy mess of bread dough or pasta sauce. And I like to compare my spicy red wine from Ribera del Duero to my bigger than life, sometimes abrasive and often megalomaniacal personality and occasionally I’ll even rank a series of wines based on how likely I’d be to have sex with it if it was a person.
Because wine should be fun to drink, fun to taste and fun to talk about. If you’re looking for a really academic perspective, this is not going to be the blog for you. If you want to learn some things about wine- how it’s made, why it tastes the way it does, what the difference is between Chardonnay from Burgundy and Napa Valley with a more than healthy amount of snark and strong opinion… This might be one for you to bookmark and follow.
If you want someone who isn’t afraid to call out the supposedly “delightful” flavors of “cat pee” and “lawn trimmings” in a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or the way that smelling barnyard funk in an Old World red is basically the best thing ever… you just might like reading this. If you want to play the occasional game of “Marry, Bang, Kill” with food pairings or talk about just how hot it is that Stephen Amell (Arrow on TV) went and rehabbed a winery in WA state… we’ll probably get along really well.
If any of that sounds good to you then join me for my journey into the world of adult beverages, my education, my job working in marketing for a national retail chain, my cooking and my quest to find the mythical “dry Riesling” (something I believe is only enjoyed by unicorns and leprechauns), then welcome to Somm Bitch. I’ll have opinions, I’ll have some recommendations, I’ll have more than a few drinks… and most importantly, I think we’ll have some fun together.