Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Lead Mouth

Like golden ears, there are people who have golden palates. Robert Parker Jr., for example, the most influential wine critic (and possibly critic, period) in the world. His reviews can make or break a wine, and send the prices spiraling wildly upwards or downwards.

I wrote a wine blog for a while, called One Wine Per Week although most of it involved satiric articles and spoofs, with serious tasting notes thrown into the mix.

One day I reviewed a product that supposedly improved the taste of wine right on the spot. In case you didn't know, many wines, especially red, seem to taste better after they've been sitting in the glass for a while. This is because they develop when exposed to air. That's why when you watch the "pros" tasting wine, they will swirl the wine violently in the glass before tasting it - that's to mix it up with air and bring out the flavors.

One fellow had an idea for a device that would thoroughly aerate wine as you poured it from the bottle into the glass. Because I don't want this entry to show up in a search engine, I won't give you the full name of the product all at once. Let me just say it begins with a "V" and has the letters i,n,t and then uri in the rest of the name.

I bought one of them. It is made of glass and has a tube running through the middle. It looks elegant. You hold it over a wine glass, then pour the wine from the bottle through this "V" device. The wine mixes with air coming through the tube, makes a gurgling sound, and it empties out into the glass with little air bubbles still dancing on the top. Supposedly this maximum exposure to air permits and facilitates rapid development of wine.

If you read reviews for this product, a lot of people swear it works. My brother in law is one of them.

Now as you may have already guessed, when I tried it I couldn't tell the difference. Not one bit. To my way of thinking, what is the difference between pouring it through this V device versus swirling the wine around in the glass? They both make the wine contact the air, and in fact since there is more surface area of the wine in the glass than there is going into the device, it's getting more air contact being in the glass. Or so I think with my pinhead logic.

No matter, I kept going back and forth and really wanted to be able to taste or smell the difference but try as I might, I couldn't find any. So that's what I wrote in my blog.

Then lo and behold, not long after I posted that entry I received this comment:

Sir,

With all due respect, if you can not smell or taste a profound difference than you are not qualified to assert your opinion. In addition, please do not drink fine wine as it will be wasted on your palate. By the way, I searched the for "doltified" and it is not a word. I suppose you're self-appointed to warp the english language just as you're self-appointed to promote a non-opinion.

If you can't hear the difference between speaker wire then your hearing is just as bad as your other senses. Your ears will be completely satisfied with a Timex clock radio. I auditioned over two dozen highly rated brands before selecting Silver Smith. But, I guess that's because I'm on idiot.

I'm wondering if your sight is as bad as your taste and hearing. Do all girls look the same to you, too? Perhaps your lack of senses is excusable, but your lack of sense isn't.

God give you the wisdom to know what you're talking about and the sense to shut up when you don't.
November 16, 2007 11:46 AM

Well now that was pretty rude, eh? I looked at the name of the poster and thought someone was trying to be funny and used a fake name, sort of like Kaiser Soze or Rolo Tomassi, because it was a name along those lines. Turns out the guy who wrote that comment was the inventor of the device I had just said made no difference when I tasted wines with and without using it! Ooh, was he mad! I thought that was pretty tacky of him, though - when someone pans your product, accept it with grace instead of sounding like a thug.

I stand by my opinion, though. While I can discern the differences between wines when tasted next to each other (I'm not one of those who can tell you what wine and vintage something is or often even what kind of grape it is made from), I've noticed that wine does develop in the glass but it takes time to do so. Even swirling it doesn't make an immediate difference; it just accelerates the process but if you expect instant change, forget it. And that's what this device was promising.

But there are so many other people who insist they can discern an immediate improvement in the wine after using the device. Is this real or psychological? I don't know. All I know is I have a lead mouth/palate and such refined devices are lost on me, like pearls before swine. Again, maybe that's a blessing and not a curse?

Oh, and in reply to this nasty comment, no, all girls do not look the same to me, lol..




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