Thank goodness for all of the media coverage readily available on wine today, which in fact thankfully seems to be growing. I believe any kind of well presented information & exposure really does encourage more & more people to try & enjoy wines. Even the somewhat controversial, supporting numeric rating system which many now use to assess (in a report card kind of way) the wines’ quality also seems to help readers with their selection, buying & cellaring.
From my point of view, however, I would like to propose another, VERY different way to assess wines, which I think is much more practical and applicable for daily use. It is the system we use in selecting wines for our restaurants’……specifically by the glass offerings……which involves searching out the kind of wines one would sip at a cafe or bistro along the Mediterranean basin…….where you simply just eat the food…..& gulp the wine. As one can readily understand this is a VERY different spectrum & profile of wines than is currently being highly rated….AND I therefore humbly suggest they should have their own category & their own rating criteria.)
Some wines are better by themselves, or for special occassions or with rich, long cooked foods. The kinds of wines I am speaking about are on the opposite end of the spectrum. These cafe styled wines are ones you can enjoy after a hard day’s work, which is more akin to guzzling 2/3’s of a bottle of beer to quench the thirst and cool off the body & mind.. Wines, where it is justifiable to just gulp down and not feel the need to swirl the glass first, or ceremoniously sniff the bouquet or feel guilty of the price tag or its speedy consumption. These are wines meant to be enjoyed……especially with foods (lighter fare at lunch or at home for dinner).
Here are four of my suggested crititeria for cafe styled wines.
First of all, I believe such a wine should be delicious. If we expect our foods to be delicious, shouldn’t cafe wines also be delicious too? AND….right out of the gates……NOT 20 years from now.
Secondly….if we expect our foods to be lighter & fresher today…..shouldn’t cafe styled wines be along the same lines? (Just so I am clear on this…we are NOT suggesting wimpy, thin, insipid wines. We want wines which are tasty & interesting, but just NOT heavy or gaudy).
Also, shouldn’t cafe styled wines be very food friendly? With white wines, this frequently means having a lemony edge & therefore interacting with the food as a squeeze of lemon would. (When ones squeezes a lemon over a fish, what does it do?…..cuts through the fishiness, oiliness and cleanses the palate between bites.) Well, a wisely selected white wine could do the same.
Lastly, a cafe styled wine should be UN-oaky, UN-alcoholic, UN-bitter AND gulp-able. (Gulp-able to me means NO hard edges, so it just slides down the gullett so easily & deliciously).
I would love to find as many 100 point scorers of this rating system as I can!