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  • Conserve water, drink wine.
  • “Beer is made by men, wine by God!” — Martin Luther
  • Anyone who tries to make you believe that he knows all about wines is obviously a fake.

For me, if not for you, there will always be people who can distiPalateNose-4,1nguish wines better than I. There will always be people who sense something amiss in some wines that I don’t detect. Other than hoping I never meet them unless they’re providing the wine, what can I do? What have I done?
For most of us, by the time we’re old enough to enjoy and afford good wines, we are already well past the time in our lives of improving sense of smell, the primary sense for wine appreciation. We may be able to learn many nuances, but we will never gain that fine level of distinguishing that we would have attained had we started in our teens, just as no athlete who starts a game in his thirties will ever attain the fine motor skills of those who started by their early teens.
So, what’s an oenophile to do? Of course, the idea that comes to mind first, is go forth and try all those wines so you’ll know them. Trouble is, it’s not possible because there are too many. Even with an unlimited budget, you couldn’t keep up. For example, my edition of the Wine Lovers’ Companion lists 188 major wine grape varieties (Wikipedia lists thousands). Conservatively, there are dozens of wines made from each of those grapes and the most you can try is ten or twenty per day. But you have only have one year to taste all those tens of thousands of wines, because each year brings new vintages. And, usually, new vineyards. Further increasing the complexity of the undertaking, you would also need to re-sample many of the wines year after year to account for the effects of aging, which can be beneficial or detrimental.

  • The French drink wines young, so a Socialist government won’t take them. The English drink them old, so they can show their friends cobwebs and dusty bottles. The American drink them exactly when they are ready, because they don’t know any better.
  • Wine is not fattening. It makes you lean—on friends, tables, walls.

Nevertheless: Go forth and sample as many as you can.

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