Thursday, February 21, 2013

Admit Your Prejudices

Since my last post on Wine Enthusiast's recent issue where several Virginia wines received 90 point ratings, people have been saying things to me like, "Virginia wine? I've never tried it," or "Virginia wine? I hear it's not very good."

Like any sort of prejudice, wine prejudices die hard - making it difficult for up and coming wine regions and varietals get the attention and recognition they deserve. I have often admitted my own prejudices against Italian wine. In fact, I downright don't like it. True, I could say that I have some very good friends who enjoy Italian wines, but that doesn't change the fact that any time an Italian wine is put in front of me, I anticipate the worst - a bland, highly acidic and terribly unbalanced wine that does nothing for me on any level. That, or a Chianti that tastes like Cherry Coke. Neither are my preferred wine choices, and frankly there is too much wine available that I do like to waste my time with the stuff.

I say this because as much as I try to avoid Italian wines, I know better. Italy is one of the largest wine-producing countries in the world, and not all their wines can be the garbage I associate as coming from there. And indeed, the best way for prejudices to die is by routinely breaking down the misconceptions someone has. Truth be told, it's slowly starting to work for me with wines from Italy. I still think it is almost impossible to get a decent bottle of Italian wine for under $15, and I don't think the significantly higher prices for the barolos, amaronies and the like are worth it. Some of the Super Tuscans I have tried recently are starting to make me change my mind, however. So perhaps I'm not a regional wine snob after all and am rather a varietal wine snob. At least I have admitted the problem and now the healing can begin...

More to the point, given my own reservations about Italian wine, I sympathize with people who feel the same way about Virginia wine. One bad experience - or one mediocre wine - can turn people off and cloud their judgement for years to come. So when I hear people talk about the benefits and merits of Italian wine, I remain weary - even though I have had some good Italian wines and remain open to alleviating my discriminatory mindset.

With Virginia wine, people's minds are also slow to change. I hope that people will try more Virginia wine, understand that the quality continues to improve, and recognize that the major publications are starting to take note as well.

If people will accept the general idea that Virginia wine is worth trying and try some, I will begrudgingly continue to educate myself about Italian wine.

1 comment:

  1. Just getting around to reading your post from Thursday. A great article. I have been over-coming some of my own prejudices about wine and expanding my wine horizons. I thoroughly agree your assessment to just try new wines and explore. Trying more Washington and smaller regions in CA. I've found some hits and misses along the way. In general I'm still an Old World fan (Italian wines included) and will always be a VA wine fan too.