On Wine. A Tragedy.
“This person who….opens a wine and enjoys it for what it is panics the minute an expert enters, hoping to not be admonished for their choice. They have been taught that there is a correct answer to the question: is this wine good. The wine industry has taught a generation of wine drinkers that there is a right answer. That there is a possibility to get wine wrong. Shame on us.”
This honest, heartfelt article was written by Ryan Opaz from Catavino. Catavino was one of the websites I obsessively followed to educate myself on Spanish wines. I don’t remember how I found them, but they were and still are an essential reference for Spanish and Portuguese wine. What I love most about them is the passion with which they talk about wine. They do so using frank, no bullshit, straight ahead language. When they describe a wine or talk about a particular producer, region or wine concept, what shines through is their excitement in sharing their discoveries and insights. They never speak down to their audience, though they obviously have extensive wine backgrounds. They simply share their contagious joy and wonder with the knowledge to back it up. Nor do you feel inadequate for not knowing; of course you don’t know, since the point is for all of us to learn. My sincere hope is that in pointing out this strict “right and wrong” attitude, we can then put it aside in favor of a more relaxed and authentic engagement with the wine world.
I come to wine as an awestruck aficionado, eager to share whatever tidbits I can find about wine, specifically Spanish wine. In the beginning, I was met with a fair amount of skepticism; the unasked question being who was I to assume I could learn and share anything about wine. Who was I, this black girl from Alaska with no wine background to speak of, to presume I could learn, let alone teach, about wine. I was asked to show my bonafides before I even got started. I knew immediately that I wanted to carve out a space in the wine world for folks like me–eager to learn more about wine, excited to discover new wines and looking for fun! I wanted to make it okay for us to learn and grow into wine together, and to remind us that wine is inherently a natural, social experience.
When I started Nicole Angela Travel & Taste that was exactly what I set out to do: create wine experiences that were as enjoyable and inviting as they were informative. It was simply a way to encourage people to fall as deeply in love with Spanish wine, this beautiful land and the amazing people who make it as I did. I’ve also figured out that wine is a wonderful way to connect more profoundly to your tastes, to discover what those are and find creative ways to express them. Without Catavino´s example, I wouldn’t have known that this more enthusiastic and unpretentious way of engaging with wine was possible. Thanks to Catavino for always reminding us of what’s true in this vast wine world.
Intrigued? Come to a Nicole Angela tasting or tour and see for yourself what fun wine can be.