A woman at a wine tasting looked me in the eye and matter-of-factly stated: “I only like sweet wines.” Sweet wines? Did she literally mean dessert wines with higher residual sugar? Or, could she mean something else?
When I asked her what she liked and didn’t like in a wine, her reply was that she didn’t like dry wines and she particularly didn’t like “dry, sour wines that made her mouth feel like she’d swallowed cotton balls.”
I asked her to humor me by trying a couple of wines. If she didn’t like any one (or all) of them, she could simply pour the remaining amount from her glass into the dump bucket. She looked at me warily, but with her friends goading her on, she agreed to the proposition.
What wines did I pour? I chose wines that were not dry, ones without heavy tannins, opting for more “fruit forward” wines. I started out with whites, first a Viognier, and then moved to a drier European-style Rose (yet, one that was still “fruit forward”). And then we really went out of her comfort zone…and proceeded to try a couple of red wines. Again, I stayed with reds that were more “fruit forward,” carefully choosing three. She approached the first with trepidation, preparing to grimace before she even took the first sip (she actually made a face before the wine made it out of the glass into her mouth). However, once she took that tentative first sip and swallowed, she looked at her friends, and then at me, and reluctantly admitted she liked it! No one was more surprised than she was. She approached the next two red wines with less hesitation. And guess what? She liked them all. She was thrilled. Her horizons had been broadened, she found several new wines she liked, and best of all, she discovered new terminology to use when describing what she likes in wines.
One of the most enjoyable surprises about wine tasting is what you think you like…or don’t like…isn’t necessarily the case. If you allow yourself to be open-minded, you will discover wonderful new varietals you’ve never tried…or, wines from a winery that produces varietals you’ve tried (and not cared for in the past) in a style you find you appreciate and enjoy.