Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Joy Lindholm » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:00 pm

Brian Gilp wrote:To be honest, yes I do often ask a lot of questions about the source of product, other ingredients, and cooking methods. Many times I end up in the kitchen talking to the chef. I don't do this at my local burger joint but I do this at places that make me think about what I am eating. I find information enhances my experience not lessens it. I find the same to exist with wine. Knowing more enhances my enjoyment as I am better able to connect what I like about a wine with the reasons why.


Yes, a healthy curiosity is great, but again, there is a time and place for it. Asking a question while you are looking at a menu or talking to the chef in the kitchen is very different than asking a bunch of questions once the plate is on the table to the point of where you are analyzing it and delaying your (and possibly others at the table) enjoyment of the meal. Do you see the difference? It's great if that routine is part of your enjoyment, but I know a lot of culinary people who will sit there and pick apart a dish (as that is what they have been trained to do) rather then just relaxing and enjoying their meal.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Joy Lindholm » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:10 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Joy - even your own statement about getting trapped in the evaluating mindset strongly implies its the wrong way to enjoy wine. Once a consumer plops down $20 for their bottle of wine it is up to them to choose how to enjoy it. Wine is indeed a beverage of pleasure, and if getting all analytical gives someone pleasure then the wine has done its job.


The key word here is enjoy. And yes, many people do get so trapped in the evaluating mindset that it completely prevents them from enjoying the wine at all. So it's not about a right or wrong way to enjoy it. That was the point that Theise was trying to make too - he recognizes that there are people out there who need and like the information. He just doesn't condone it to the point of where it prevents a person from missing what a wine truly is (ie, missing the forest for the trees). There was a point early on in my wine journey, when I forced myself to taste every wine with a notebook and pen and went through the CMS tasting grid religiously. Sure, it was great for learning the basics, but there was a point that I came to when I realized that I never just let myself sit down and enjoy a glass of wine without having to pick it apart. For meat that time, the information and analyzing got in the way of enjoyment. There is a time and place for all the details; for some it doesn't get in the way of enjoyment. But obviously for a number of wine professionals it does, and that is what Theise is trying to shed light on. Everyone has to find their happy medium. We can argue semantics here until we are all blue in the face, but at the end of the day, I think we are all agreeing here on the same thing. We just all come to the discussion with different backgrounds and ways of approaching wine, so we will all look at it a bit differently.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby David M. Bueker » Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:29 pm

Terry mentions drinkers, beginners, colleagues & tasters. It's not specific to professionals.

You seem to be extrapolating to only professionals to make a point. I am truly sorry if you have run into a horde of marauding sommeliers that have battererd you with notebooks covered with phrases such as "medium plus finish" until you were spolied in your enjoyment of wine.

There's a line between geeky and rude. It lies somewhere between medium and medium plus.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Joy Lindholm » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:00 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Terry mentions drinkers, beginners, colleagues & tasters. It's not specific to professionals.

You seem to be extrapolating to only professionals to make a point. I am truly sorry if you have run into a horde of marauding sommeliers that have battererd you with notebooks covered with phrases such as "medium plus finish" until you were spolied in your enjoyment of wine.

There's a line between geeky and rude. It lies somewhere between medium and medium plus.


Absolutely it is not specific to professionals, however the trap of rigorous, formulated tasting is something that professionals tend to get shoved into more than casual "drinkers". I'm not trying to make any point other than (no matter what your level or occupation in wine may be) don't let the information or details prevent you from enjoyment of the wine. If that is part of your enjoyment, great, but don't let it overshadow it. I must say I am at a place now where I have found a happy medium - I don't need all the information about a wine, but I don't shy away from it too much either. At the end of the day if we aren't drinking wine because it is delicious and brings us pleasure, then what is the point? I drink wine because I enjoy it, and can now find the work/life balance - even in wine.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Salil » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:04 pm

Joy Lindholm wrote:I must say I am at a place now where I have found a happy medium

Excellent. So did you get there on your own and just figuring out how you were happiest when enjoying a glass, or via someone else insisting to you there was a correct way to understand wine, and other ways were wrong?
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Joy Lindholm » Wed Mar 06, 2013 4:42 pm

Salil wrote:
Joy Lindholm wrote:I must say I am at a place now where I have found a happy medium

Excellent. So did you get there on your own and just figuring out how you were happiest when enjoying a glass, or via someone else insisting to you there was a correct way to understand wine, and other ways were wrong?


Not at all. There is no insistence that there is a right/wrong way to understand wine - only that if you are a part of the CMS, they teach you to use their method as a standard for evaluating wine. As with any form of intense study, it is sometimes easy to get trapped in the method and technique, and forget the pure appreciation of it. That is where you have to find the balance. Right now, I tend to avoid tasting groups that are only there to analyze a wine's qualities, rather than learning the story behind it or letting the wine just speak to you.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Ryan M » Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:09 pm

I think I understand the heart of what Joy is getting at. I few years ago I realized that in my quest to produce detailed tasting notes, I was getting so focused on the process of tasting and evaluating the wine for that purpose that sometimes I wasn't even really drinking the wine, I was simply evaluating it.

So, it seems to me that the point Joy is making is that one shouldn't let evaluating a wine become a substitute for experiencing it. Of course it is true that for most of us here, some level of evaluation is part of the enjoyment - interpreted in that context, perhaps the essential point is that evaluation can be part of enjoying a wine, but we should remember that it is only one aspect of the experience.

One of the captivating things about wine is that it can be enjoyed on both hedonistic and intellectual levels, and personally, I find I am most satisfied when I balance those two aspects.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Joy Lindholm » Thu Mar 07, 2013 2:11 am

Thanks, Ryan - well said.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Dave Erickson » Fri Mar 08, 2013 4:16 pm

From the text in question:

If you’re stuck in the “how,” you’ll have a rough time finding your way to the “what.” And that is where true wisdom lies.


N.B.: He is not disparaging "how," he's just saying that "how" is not sufficient.

I've been guilty of it often enough. Then (after reading Reading Between The Vines) I found myself thinking about how the terminology of the successful blind tasting gives the game away. When you get one right, we say "You nailed it!" Somehow, that conveys notions of power and knowledge that have very little to do with the sensual enjoyment of wine. Then again, perhaps that's what a certain segment of wine-drinkers is there for. Just speculating, of course.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby David M. Bueker » Fri Mar 08, 2013 5:57 pm

How does taking pleasure in the "how" preclude taking pleasure in the "what"?
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Ben Rotter » Sat Mar 09, 2013 5:59 am

Theise's points about pre-judging and getting bogged down in analysis to the detriment of a more aesthetic appreciation are fair, but I also don't think it has be one or the other. It's possible to be both analytical and "hedonistic"/aesthetic about the same wine in the same sitting. You can analyse the stats to death, then relax into "how [the wine] makes you feel" (to use Theise's words) - or vice versa.

It can be difficult to relate certain winemaking stats to what's in the glass (like Theise's example of his young collegue picking out oak influence), but it can also be interesting to try - and it isn't always in vain. Stats aren't just for beginners, they're for everyone; and if I were in Theise's position, I might remind Herr Dönnhoff that the r.s./acid/Oechsle data can be helpful in assessing just how sweet (and possibly even how "ripe") his vintage x Kabinett might appear (personally, I really appreciate how the Germans provide that kind of information).
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Sam Platt » Sat Mar 09, 2013 9:47 am

Ryan M wrote:So, it seems to me that the point Joy is making is that one shouldn't let evaluating a wine become a substitute for experiencing it.

I can't separate the evaluation from the experience. I have friends who give me hell because I never taste a new wine without swirling and sniffing it first. Though they call me "Paul Masson" ( what are friends for if not to mock you) the act of evaluating the wine is critical to how I experience the wine. In a social setting I don't spend much time in deep thought on my evaluation, nor do I announce my impressions unless someone asks. If sniff and swirl makes people think I am a pretentious, over-analytical ass then so be it.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby David M. Bueker » Sat Mar 09, 2013 12:00 pm

Sam,

Sniffing and swirling is not overanalyzing. That's just the proper way to enjoy your wine. :mrgreen:

Given all the carping about oversweet kabinetts, putting the analytical stats on the back label might not be a bad idea.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby Ryan M » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:23 pm

Sam Platt wrote:
Ryan M wrote:So, it seems to me that the point Joy is making is that one shouldn't let evaluating a wine become a substitute for experiencing it.

I can't separate the evaluation from the experience. I have friends who give me hell because I never taste a new wine without swirling and sniffing it first. Though they call me "Paul Masson" ( what are friends for if not to mock you) the act of evaluating the wine is critical to how I experience the wine. In a social setting I don't spend much time in deep thought on my evaluation, nor do I announce my impressions unless someone asks. If sniff and swirl makes people think I am a pretentious, over-analytical ass then so be it.


Hey Sam! I think you know how serious I can be about taking notes. The point is, I don't think enjoying a wine should consist only of taking notes. I've read so many notes on Cellar Tracker describing wines that the authors clearly though were excellent, but that nonetheless are sterile, conveying no sense of the excitement and emotion that ought to come with experiencing wines like that.

I do agree that there's no "correct" way to enjoy a wine, but I do think there are ways of approaching wine that remove the joy from the experience.
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Re: Terry Theise: Don't Overanalyze Your Wine. Enjoy It.

Postby David M. Bueker » Sun Mar 10, 2013 12:29 pm

Don't confuse the ability to write an engaging tasting note with the ability to thoroughly enjoy a wine. There's not a lot of overlap in that Venn diagram.
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