Most days it is - other than being a touring golf pro, there's not much else I'd rather do in life. But some days it isn't.
Like today. The heat has finally broken in New York, and my mind is on the weekend. The sun is shining bright, and I'm dreaming about my golf game and what I'm going to drink this weekend.
But before I can get to that, I have some work to do. Unfortunately, I find myself in the midst of an atrocious flight of wines - Argentinean reds from a hodgepodge of grapes, including Merlot, Tempranillo, Syrah and Bonarda. It's almost never this bad - 20 wines and more than half can't break 80 points. Half a dozen are fizzy and mean. Ugh.
Any critic can sit around and toss high scores at great wines. The hard work is finding the gems in the rubble. When you're tasting several bad wines in a row, it's easy to lose your focus and simply give up on the tasting. But you can't. It's important to forget the previous wine (or 2, or 3 or 4) , no matter how bad it was, and focus on the next wine that's in the glass. That's not easy when you've got a build-up of rough tannins, brett or other flaws to deal with. So you have to go even slower, take breaks, and concentrate harder.
That's the irony - the worse the wines, the more you have to work. Because if I miss a gem hidden in the rubble, I've done a disservice to both the winery and the readers. No, these tastings aren't the fun ones.
Luckily they don't happen all the time - otherwise I'd be out trying to get on the PGA tour, which wouldn't be any easier with my short game.