Tom's blog

Yes, it's the same wine

I wish I had a nickel for every time someone claimed that a wine they had at home was not the same as the wine they tasted at the winery. They suspect that there was some hanky-panky going on.

“You know, I bet they pour really good stuff at the winery to suck you in. You buy a case when you get home and it’s not the same wine! They did a switch-er-roo.”

Nah. Here’s why the wines don’t taste the same:

You were on vacation in Napa and Chateau Blotto was the third stop of an afternoon blitz. You were enjoying the view — the vineyards, the barrels and the woman pouring the wines behind the counter. You have this tasting sheet in front of you and a place to mark down how many bottles you want. The wife agrees the Blotto Single-Vineyard Fruit-gasm is the best wine she’s ever had in the world. Of course, you want to ship home a case!

Now, you’re having a pasta — the same one you’ve had for the last decade — and you pull out a bottle of Blotto’s Fruit-gasm.. Wait, you say, why does this taste like vinegar?

Setting has everything to do with how a wine tastes because what we see and feel is as much a sense as taste. Our environs can create a special mood in which the wine is as delicious as the experience. It’s the same wine — but the place isn’t as special at home.

I caution people to be careful about buying wines when they travel to wine regions. It is easy to get carried away and join a club or ship back wines. I’ve been sucked into this trap as well, but now I limit myself and buy only a handful of wines that I know aren’t distributed anywhere beyond the tasting room. I pay a lot for these wines, but I have a high standard to meet.

Enjoy the wines while you are there but remember that place has everything to do with the pleasure.