I recently overheard a foursome of young business people talking wine. Sitting at a nearby table, hearing their excitable discussion was unavoidable. "I love Cabernets," stated one, "and (mainstream producer) is really popular right now." The conversation carried on, experiences were shared, and it became clear that these were not wine novices. Yet, non-California Cabernet, like "those William-ette Oregon Pinots" received only a passing, dismissive mention from this group.
With so many great, affordable, and unknown wines to choose from, you should strategize for wine adventures. I had the pleasure of visiting with winemaker Lorenzo Marotti Campi at the Slow Wine Tour in Los Angeles. He poured his wines made from the rare Lacrima grape in the Marche DOC of Italy. The wines had an immensely floral nose, and the perfumed fragrance filled the general tasting area. There were sweet yet firm fruits, and peppery finishes. Lorenzo was extremely kind and hospitable, and his wines were outstandingly different from anything else I tasted.
unlimit your wine adventures
Here is the thing: If I had limited myself to tasting what I knew at the time, I would not have enjoyed this experience. I have had very few wines from this region, and did not know of the Lacrima grape. At the event, Marotti Campi was set up at a table far from regions like Tuscany or Piedmont, and was one of only two (out of 53 total) producers from Marche. It was the last table I visited, and his neighbor producer had already shut down, leaving the table looking somewhat disheveled. Fortunately, my wife insisted that we go over and try it.
I may never taste these wines again, but the ten minutes spent with Lorenzo and his wines made my night, and converted an otherwise average tasting into a memorable experience. If you are currently committed to a particular wine, enjoy it to the full. But when the opportunity to taste something new and different, red or white or bubbly, presents itself, take it! You just do not know what you might otherwise miss.
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