Do I always need shtick?
You know – a gimmick, a comic routine, a hook to pull you in…
I want to say no, but I do. I want to say you talk to me about wine because you want to learn; we know that always isn’t true. I don’t want to insult, but I do want to speak to the masses that believe they are sommeliers. You are out there, and you are brave. I love the bravery. You drink great wines, and insist that you are a step away from making it yourself. The science and technology of wine is in your pocket, and you are pulling out those luscious tid bits for all to see….
…And for me to agree with. I want to agree with you that you are really allergic to sulfites (doubtful but possible), that Malbec is only grown in South America (um, no), that “cab sav” is a varietal (stop saying that please), that Robert Mondavi created wine (wish that was true), or that your palette is made of gold and should be glorified.
Again, you are brave. That is the first step in all of this, and you are there. Next step; become the child. When I try on a dress and ask my five year old nephew if I look fat, he says yes. Why? Because he is honest, and tells it like he sees it. Can you strip off the costume you think you should wear and taste wine naked? Can you FEEL the wine, experience the wine, find the story in the wine…
How do I take consumers to a different place? How do I have you taste without tasting the mystery you have created before the tasting begins?
“Take a sip, experience the wine, create an opinion of the wine, give it a character, a voice – then nibble on a piece of chocolate – taste the wine again. What happened to that voice? How did your palette change? What colors are you seeing now?”
Those were my instructions to a group of tasters this weekend. I admit – this was a test, and I thought it would fail. Both wine and chocolate are subtle in flavor and texture, display a certain character, entice, seduce. I could not have the chocolate sweeter than the wine, so I had to be careful. A milk chocolate with Woodwork Pinot Noir was the winner. Another winner was a Chili Chocolate with BV Coastal Cabernet Sauvignon. Wow – the chocolate enhanced the flavors of this wine showing me a slight spice I never experienced! The looser? Bitter chocolate. What I learned was that wines with rounder tannins paired best with the sweetness of the chocolate. Bitter just became more bitter. The Blass Shiraz was fine on it’s own; I don’t think it needed to be paired with anything!
If you are in the Caldwell area, check out Caldwell Flowerland. What a beautiful spot! Not only are the botanicals on point, but you can rent out the space for your next event! And what a space! Perfect for an intimate function, or more. Check out the pictures below: