So much of wine enjoyment is personal taste, but chance plays a role too. It is often ignored but some recent wine experiences brought the issue to mind.
A dinner with friends. I took one of my favourite wines, a chance to share it with others. Remove the cork, pour, swirl … alarm bells. There’s a dry, musty aroma. Sip, and yes, there it is: the wretched mushroom, wet cardboard taste of a corked wine. Previous bottles of this wine and vintage have been excellent, this was a one off. Sadly, it spoiled my evening, such a disappointment, expectations dashed by TCA.
Two bottles opened in successive nights, a 1990 Chateau D’Angludet and a 2005 Cahors, Chateau de Cayrou. The last bottle of the Angludet I opened had been disappointing, showing its age, brown in colour and dried out. This one was dark red with a brown edge, fruit still to the fore coupled with interesting notes of nuts and dark plums. It was a lovely surprise, expectations had been low based on the previous bottle. These two bottles had been stored together, the bottle variation like chalk and cheese. If I had only tasted the first I would have a bad impression of this venerable wine. How many times must that have happened to me?
The second bottle comes from a stellar vintage in Cahors and a domaine with a good reputation. The result? Meh. It was OK, nothing more. Little character, no charm. A food wine some would call it. Which to me is a wine lacking fruit and personality. I bought that bottle many years ago on recommendation, was it a disappointing bottle like that first Angludet? Or was it just a dull wine? Would I spend my money to buy another and find out the answer, certainly not. There are Cahors wines which appeal far more, notable from Charlotte and Louis Pérot’s Domaine L’Ostal.
Wine drinking is personal taste, this bottle of 2009 Faugères was one my wife enjoyed but I found dull. However, before being definitive let us admit that sometimes fortune can influence our wine experience.