I've long been of the belief that those with a distinguished sense of taste are somewhat cursed. Cursed to live a life spending much more money on luxuriant food and drinks than is ever necessary.
To some, the idea of a perfect meal is a well composed Big Mac, crisp fries and an ice cold coke, or perhaps even a chicken parmy with a pint of ale as a chaser. But to someone more like myself, the ideal gastronomic experience might involve something much more expensive; say, 8 courses, covering everything from lobster to foie gras, white truffle to wagyu, to Giaconda to Grange; just to garner the same amount of enjoyment others may find in a chicken parmigiana and beer.
It's ridiculous how many times I've spent over $100 on a meal in my relatively short life (there's another one coming up tonight...), whereas I still associate with people who consider $40 for a meal beyond reason. By the time I've passed, I'd hate to recount how much more money I would've blown on the extravagant side of food and drinks than others. Ah, where all that money could have gone.
To bring the idea of 'ignorance is bliss' into a wine context I'm comparing the opinions of 2 wines across 2 different people, each with differing wine experience.
For the first case I'm comparing the opinions of my close friend Casey and myself, in reference to an $80/doz cleanskin Adelaide Hills Pinot Noir we sampled together recently.
After tasting the cleanskin pinot Casey remarked;
"I like it Plummer. I'm buying two boxes. What do you think?"
Then, in my typical wine-snobberish manner, I responded with;
"Its palate seems unconvincing, forward, short and abrupt, and it's over-ripe."
Casey walked away with two boxes a happy man (still to this day, and he's nearly down to one box). Clearly Casey was analysing the wine in a simpler context to me, as I was probably looking too deep into a $7 pinot to gain any genuine enjoyment. Whatever the case, Casey found much more pleasure in the wine than I did.
For the second case I'm comparing my own review of Curly Flat's 2006 Pinot Noir, with that of one of Australia's most respected, experienced and influential wine writers; Jeremy Oliver.
Of the 206 Curly Flat, a line of my review reads;
'From within its great depth an undercarriage of meaty garden herbs begins to emerge, projecting superb length of fruit onto an already exquisite palate.' 96 points
While in Jeremy Oliver's 2010 Australian Wine Annual, a line of his review reads;
'There is however a thread throughout the wine of a light herbal presence and a hint of raisin, suggesting a slightly uneven ripeness.' 91 points
Amazingly, the extracts here point towards a very similar quality we both found in the Curly Flat, but how Jeremy Oliver perceived this character was completely different to me. In retrospect I can see how my 'meaty garden herbs' might equate to his 'slightly uneven ripeness', but by Jove I still thoroughly enjoyed the wine at the time. Obviously my ignorance, or failure, to detect uneven ripeness in the Curly Flat allowed me to enjoy it much more than Jeremy Oliver did (as evident by the scores), whose experienced wine evaluation skills allowed him to pick out a technical fault in a pinot I simply sat back and marvelled at in amateurish fashion.
Is fine sense of taste a curse?