Wine column: Wine is made to be enjoyed, don’t worry about defining it

“Wine (from Latin vinum) is an alcoholic beverage made from grapes, generally Vitis vinifera, fermented without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, water, or other nutrients. Yeast consumes the sugar in the grapes and converts it to ethanol and carbon dioxide.”

That is the definition of wine according to Wikipedia. So, that said, why would anyone want to drink rotten grapes? And, if that someone is you, how do you go about figuring out which particular bottle of spoiled grape juice is the best fit for you and your taste?

Let’s make this a simple task. We all have different preferences and sensibilities when it comes to taste, and our sense of smell is directly related to our sense of taste. So, when you are admiring the color of the wine, give it a good smell — swirl, smell, swirl, smell. Cover your glass to trap the aromatics, swirl to release them, raise your glass to your nose, uncover it and inhale deeply. If the distinctive smell of a particular wine brings an immediate smile of satisfaction and instant reverence, that will suit your taste and you’ve found your wine.

It doesn’t matter if you can’t describe the bouquet as floral, or mossy, or smoky, or any of the other dozens of adjectives you may have heard “wine people” use. The only adjective that really matters is the one that springs to mind when you smell the wine.

I had a personal reminder of this at a recent tasting event at Pleasant Hill Cellars in Carnation. Winemaker Larry Lindvig has created a beautiful Syrah-Tempranillo-Monastrell blend. When I first smelled it, it was very perfumy and gentle and I was swept up by a sense of romance and nostalgia that made me think of a lady from the 1940’s getting ready for a night on the town. What more can you ask for out of a wine?

Each bottle has a distinctive flavor and a special person waiting to love all that it has to offer. The taste, the smell, the color and the satisfaction is all your own. I always say that it doesn’t matter if the wine costs $8 or $800, if it puts a smile on your face, then that bottle belongs to you.

What is it that you think about when you ponder your favorite wine? It doesn’t have to be traditional and stuffy. Wine is made to be drunk and enjoyed. If you’re not enjoying the wine you’re drinking, keep looking. When you’ve found one you truly enjoy, why spend much time looking for anything else?