With a mix of curiosity, amusement and befuddlement I read the news this past week that Dutch winemaker Ilja Gort has insured his nose with Lloyd’s of London for approximately 8 million dollars. The stated rationale was that his nose is essential for him to produce top-quality wines at his Château de la Garde in Bordeaux.
When it comes to selecting a wine you don’t know much about, I offer this advice, especially when it comes to imported wines: start with the back-side. Frequently, someone who lives in a different part of the country than I do asks me for a wine recommendation.
I have got to sound a call for equality. No longer will I accept a judgment of a wine based on its color. Every night, I hear it as soon as I begin to pour, especially if it’s a red that’s inky black: “Wow, that’s gonna be great!” And it gives me pause to consider, what is color in wine and what does it have to do with quality? I can tell you that essentially color comes from the pigment found in the grape skins and it makes its way into the wine during maceration (when the grapes and their juice sit together in a fermentation vessel).
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