Last week, I agreed to start holding a few wine tastings for one of the Swedish wine importers – after checking with a wine journalist friend of mine that this was considered kosher by the trade. He raised an eyebrow at the question and said there may be only a couple of wine journalists in the world who never do anything – tastings, trade shows, trips – with importers. As far as he is concerned, he will never write an article or hold a tasting with a wine he does not like. Period. But he will accept travel arrangements by producers or regional organizations as long as they understand that he only writes something positive if he truly feels it. He might even write something negative, while on their dime. Might seem like biting the hand that feeds you, but there is no other way if you want to keep your integrity and the readers’ respect. I want to keep my integrity, and Cajsa’s respect (she is a strict one when it comes to that topic), but his discourse on ethics made me comfortable with taking on work from the importers. Holding tastings is a great way to learn how people think about wine, what they want to learn, and what tidbits of information they will jot down to take to their next dinner party. Plus, I have to read up on the facts. All great stuff to help us get ready for our wineshow-to-be.
So, tonight I went to a wine glass tasting with one of the key Swedish wine writers, Mikael Mölstad, to prepare for a similar tasting I will hold with Riedel in November. It is obvious that he has done this before. Sometimes I get nervous when I realize how many years the handful of key wine writers have spent testing wines. But then I remind myself that at one time they were new at this too. I almost never get a question on wine I really can’t answer, and I make a living as a writer already. I’ll be fine. It was a mixed crowd tonight, but with quite a high average age. Considering how many young people seem to be interested in wine (just look at Ambrosia – we have 40 members all under 40), I think there must be ways to get them to come to these tastings. I’m curious – do you think different age groups have different approaches to wine? What do the 30-40yearolds want from wine and wine writing? What do YOU want? I’ve poured myself a glass of Duval Leroy champagne (there is always a piccolo in the fridge) and I’m all ears (or eyes, as it were)… 🙂
PS the reason I agreed to hold tastings for Riedel is that the woman in charge of the Swedish market is such a sweetheart – she always makes me laugh. Today she said “If the champagne coupe glass was molded after Marie Antoinettes breasts, as the story goes, what is the champagne flute molded after??” Touché.