Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Can Lead The People To Purity....But Can I Make Them Drink?

I’ve learned a few things in my, almost 38 years….and before anyone starts with the, “Oh you’re still a baby” crap, remember I have a “baby” in college, I’m plenty old. Learning from your mistakes is something I have taken seriously, (well aside from the, if you drink too much this will happen) for many years. Most of the time I roll with the punches, take my lumps and chalk the whole deal up to a learning experience. In cases like;

Drinking prune juice then taking a 2 mile walk

Trying to make people like you

Accepting drinks from strangers

Making your child “retry” Jello, (that he swears makes him barf) in a restaurant

(Wondering) “How would I look with black hair”

Shaving your arms

Not asking for help in a French airport

Re-introducing meat, after 3 years of going without, with a giant slab of Prime Rib

Assuming that bowl of white fluffy stuff is mashed potatoes in France…salt cod…shudder

Not saying what you need to

With things like that I was able to shrug, say, “Okay well that happened” and keep those little nuggets of misfortune in the back of mind, to keep from stumbling into those traps again. There does however, remain one area where I am deflated time and time again but I keep coming back for more. Not sure why I keep at it but I puff up my chest and shout, “Thank you sir may I have another!!?” every time I get kicked in the gut or run over. My sensible side tells me to throw up my hands and just let it be….but my passionate side, it keeps pushing me, telling me, “Just hold on….they’re going to come around soon”. So here I am, hands on my hips, furrowed brow, bottom lip protruding…kicking my feet behind me like a bull getting ready to charge, shouting, “IT’S BURGUNDY PEOPLE….IT’S PURE & BEAUTIFUL….COME DRINK IT!”

Saturday February 14, (Valentine’s day…may have been some of the draw) we had 110 people show up to taste domestic Pinot Noir, the room was crazed, packed, loud and the folks munched and drank away. They seemed to enjoy the wines although I don’t think we sold too much, again may have been because many of the people were just there to kick off their celebration of “love day” but we were happy to see so many people down with drinking our beloved Pinot Noir, gave me hope for the following weekend….turns out, that hope….it was false.

So this past Saturday, it was my day, a day to showcase some of my absolute favorite wines, the wines of Burgundy. Seeing as we had such a slammin’ turnout the week before I was super excited to show people the difference between New World and Old World Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, (see my tasting was red and white Burgundy whereas the other tasting was all Pinot Noir…so all red, another factor) I got to work early, chilled my whites and tasted through the wines to put them in the proper order…I was geared up and ready…..donde the peoples?

It wasn’t a total bust, we had 68 people show and of those 68 about three quarters were thrilled to be there, loved the wines and listened intently as I talked about purity, fineness, wines of place and refreshment. For some, like Vicki and Heather, (readers of this blog and French wine freaks) it was a “No duh Sam” day, others walked away with a better understanding and new found appreciation for those wines….but others…man, they were having a hard time wrapping their heads and palates around those wines.

One poor woman that has been shopping at The Wine Country for as long as I can remember, looked almost like she was in pain! Had I seen her before she bought her tasting sheet I would have stopped her, told her to spend the $20 on a bottle of Zinfandel or Shiraz…not because she wouldn’t get the wines, but because I knew she wouldn’t like them. She loves sweet upfront fruit, thick, rich wines with tons of oak, that is her thing and she has been drinking wine long enough to know what she likes, and I have been watching her purchases long enough to know that these Burgundies….these were NOT the wines for her.

Another customer, (new face, never seen him before) kept handing me his tasting sheet, and there next to the wines he had already tasted there were little sad faces…his rating system I am assuming. I wanted to talk to him, ask questions, get a better understanding of what he likes…you know, so I could put the wines in context for him but he was with a group and frankly seemed not at all interested in what I had to say, can’t say I really blame him for that….I mean, I was the one that picked these wines that he had rated or , he must have thought I was full of shit.

The thing is, the reason I keep trying is not for the woman that I know will not like these wines, her palate is set and these wines are never going to please her. No, I keep charging like a bull for those that are not set, those that may have a place or a passion for these wines….if I could just make them understand them. There are plenty of people that understand but still loathe Burgundy, that I understand but for those that have yet to have a Burgundy moment…it is for them that I remain a headstrong pain in the ass, relentless in my goal to make them one of those people that can’t help but close their eyes when they think about, reminisce, smell or taste Burgundy.

So I am not letting up, I will continue to do tastings, talk your ears off and wax rhapsodic about purity, pleasure, place, acidity and passion….also known as, Burgundy..and yes my eyes are closed!

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