Then suppose you want a California cabernet. So you pick, and thoroughly enjoy, 2007 Faust. Retail, about $45.
It too is exactly what you want from a very good California cab. One would be hard pressed to describe it as screamingly different from the shiraz -- delicious as both are, are they both also perhaps good candidates for our master Michael Broadbent's pejorative title "global red"? -- except to say that it has a certain tautness and firmness that the shiraz doesn't bother with. Shoofly is your loud, fun great-aunt Mabel, who wears purple clothes and takes you downtown shopping, where she encourages you to have a huge piece of chocolate cake in lieu of lunch; Faust is her prim, thin, well-preserved daughter, who married wealth and looks it. She quotes Goethe on her back label. She rolls her eyes and tells you to eat a good dinner -- including a green pepper salad -- first.
There. I've set down a scene, a kind of story. You see, recently I read another great wine master's ideas, no less a personage than Hugh Johnson, who said that tasting notes full of our familiar fruit-basket metaphors are no use to anyone. He's not the first to say so, of course. But he went on to suggest that a wine should call to mind, and be described in terms of, an experience. Like shopping with great-aunt Mabel?
Perhaps. And I was struck by the opinion of one more wine drinker, this one a friend on Tom Wark's Facebook page. (Incidentally, I'm not his friend. I asked, but among all his 1400+ friends, he has not yet decided to include me. Still I see his activities posted to my own page occasionally. Facebook is funny that way.) A few days ago Mr. Wark, busy at a professional tasting, asked, "Should wine competitions judge varietal wines on their regional typicity?" In other words he is asking whether or not, at a competition of, say, Australian shirazes, the wines should be judged on how well they conform to being Exactly What You Want from an Australian shiraz. Would a delicate, un-fruity, un-peppery shiraz correctly get low marks at such a contest?
The wine drinking Warkian friend, one Donna Childers-Thirkell, responded crisply and devastatingly in the comment stream. "You wouldn't be able to find judges. I don't know why there are wine competitions anymore. Most of the judges would never be able to blind taste and you have to know typicity to blind taste."
Wow. I guess that's a No on the Warkian question. However, I think she meant to emphasize "most judges would never be able to blind taste" because (not "and") most don't know typicity, or Exactly What They Want.
Well, I do. On a hot summer day, after sipping these fine but heavy-duty reds, here is exactly what you want.
2009 Polka Dot riesling, Pfalz, Germany. Cheap? Check (retail, about $8). Sweet? Check. Refreshing and delightful? Check, and check. A hidden Gallo product? Oh yes. Exactly.