heard a quote on the radio this morning, 'your mind is like a parachute - it works best when it's open.' It raised a smile, and then the following train of thought. A truly sclerotic mind is defined by the inability to take on a new idea.
I heard a quote on the radio this morning, 'your mind is like a parachute - it works best when it's open.' It raised a smile, and then the following train of thought. A truly sclerotic mind is defined by the inability to take on a new idea. Many of our opinions and prejudices are formed early in life and if they aren't constantly re-appraised they become set, as in concrete. When it comes to wine here's a list of a few of my own personal bigotries; German table wines (not the high-class stuff) are palatable but unexciting; I still distrust what additives may have gone into Austrian wine; Swiss wine tastes okay outside of Switzerland, but oddly not very good in situ; good French wines cost far too much; the Sauvignon Blanc grape has found its true home in the New Zealand climate; the more wine legislation there is to protect the consumer, the worse it'll be.
Of course, other people have other prejudices. I have friends from college days who still believe that Valpolicella is hardly worthy of the name 'wine' and that Soave is something best used to remove Fablon from walls. This particular bigotry is based on the fact that some years ago the only Italian wines available in Ireland were the very cheapest and nastiest Valpolicellas and Soaves. It's understandable that after a few student parties based on these wines, my friends swore to forsake them forever.
A couple of days ago I went to dinner with friends and an Austrian white wine was on the table. It turned out to be a remarkable wine and it shook my previously held prejudices, which in truth, is something I like to happen. But some prejudices are held by so many people that they begin to have an effect on the market place. I mentioned German table wine. Some Rhine vineyards produce huge quantities of wine - up to 20,000 litres per hectare, or five times the Bordeaux average. With New World wines sweeping the markets, the German producers have had to think hard. Black Towers and Blue Nuns needed to be replaced to regain some degree of market position, or they could have foundered in their own wine lake. Hence 'Bend in the River', which is widely available. It looks like a modern Australian package rather than the usual worthy German labelling; the wine is light and refreshing and just might change your mind about German table wines.
And if you feel like shaking up some more of your own beliefs, the same is true of the Zenato range from Searsons. Apart from classy wines such as the Ripasso and the Amarone, they make a real Valpolicella and a real Soave. Before these two names were debased by bad wines from unscrupulous co-operatives, they had a long and noble history going back some 150 years. A Valpolicella 'Superiore' is in fact a superior wine to the plain appellation, made from selected grapes and aged for two years in the wood before bottling.
Valpolicella Classico Superiore 1998, Zenato.