December 12, 2012

The Modern Wine Connoisseur

I'm currently reading Eric Asimov's How to Love Wine.  I don't need much convincing to love wine, but Asimov (the very eloquent NY Times wine critic) writes brilliantly about wine and had a thought I'd like to share with you all:
"To [the modern wine connoisseur], connoisseurship is not a set of esoteric skills or the ability to regurgitate trivial matters of fact.  it's the emotion, the love of wine, that has led them to drink widely, and to learn about what they have come to love.  The distinction is crucial.  Those stuck in the past still speak of "wine appreciation," as if knowing wine were simply a matter of accumulating a set of skills, like impeccable speech and proper table manners.  The idea of wine appreciation reeks of bourgeois hopes for social mobility."

And later:
 "The twenty-first-century connoisseur grasps that the key to unlocking wine is love, not appreciation.  The necessary tools are a passionate curiosity, a motivating desire that demands time, energy, and money to pursue a vast field that is fascinating but, truth be told, not easy.  It means first falling in love with wine, which comes from drinking, not from tasting or learning how to taste. The emotion gives rise to the passion for learning."
Sometimes, when reading this book I'm tempted to shout YES! THANK YOU! Asimov just gets it.

I cannot stop thinking about the notion of love vs. appreciation, and the emotion that the millenial wine connoisseur brings to wine thought.  Passion, emotion, love--that's what should drive a passion, don't you think?

So, go, run on over to your nearest bookseller (or e-bookseller, as it is for me these days) and pick up a copy of this book.  Let's all learn to love wine together.

All excerpts from Eric Asimov's How to Love Wine, copyright 2012

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