I’m not big on wine. Frankly, it usually knocks me out, especially red. But also because I could never really connect with it like foodies and oenophiles do. Tasting notes bewilder me. I mean, what if I DON’T taste the wood, blackberry, leather or whatever they say I should? So when I first heard about New York Times wine critic Eric Asimov‘s new book How To Love Wine and how he thinks tasting notes are pointless, well, that was the best news ever. You mean I don’t have to taste that stuff to truly appreciate what I’m drinking? Awesome. In that case, maybe I’ll give wine another shot.
Yesterday when Asimov popped up at a book event in Domaine LA with Chef Ludo Lefebvre I made sure to be there. Ludo was signing copies of his new book, LudoBites, and even brought the Ludo Truck so people could tend to their fried chicken addiction. Even though the wine critic was in San Francisco at the time the wine shop FaceTimed him in so that he could discuss why he picked the five wines he did for the event. However, since it would have been difficult to share an iPad with a room of people, they allowed those who wanted to talk to him to do so in a separate room.
So I got to ask him in a sort of confessional why he picked these wines. Turns out they weren’t picked for complementing fried chicken.
“These are somewhat mainstream picks but they’re meant to show what great wines you can get for not a whole lot of money. Most of those are maybe around $20 max, $25 a bottle and they’re all fantastic wines. Whether from a really established region like Chablis, where you can still get great values in Burgundy, or Tyrolian Alps in Italy. That’s really what it was meant to show. I wouldn’t call them my favorites but they’re among my favorites. They’re meant to be representative of the wide variety of wine you have available at a generally moderate price.”
Gotta love cheap but world-class wines!
I’m currently in the middle of Asimov’s book but really like how he’s made wine appreciation an approachable affair. All this time I was intimidated by these talks of points, tasting notes and a bazillion wine regions. “That’s one of the reasons I wrote the book,” Asimov said. “There’s so many great wines available now I feel that people are anxious or intimidated by wine. It just gets in the way of all this available pleasure.” So yeah, you don’t have to be a master sommelier to appreciate wine.
By the way, his picks are still available at Domaine LA.
- 2010 Duplessis Chablis, $22
- 2011 Champalou Vouvray, $18
- 2009 Nusserhof “Elda” Schiava, $25
- 2010 Brovia Barbera “Sori del Drago,” $25
- 2010 Eric Texier “Brezeme” Cotes du Rhone, $25