“There are NO great wines. There are only great BOTTLES.”
This is one of my favorite sayings in the wine biz that wholly encompasses so much of the joy (and disappointment, at times) of wine. This saying connects the emotion IN THE MOMENT of drinking a wine and makes us realize how much they are connected.
Setup: you’re on a romantic trip to Tuscany with the passionate love of your life. You wander into a trattoria and it’s right out of “Under The Tuscan Sun”. The rolling hills of grapes and olive trees, the joyful crowd of locals, the fanrastic sex you’ve been having, the amazing food. You order the house wine, a local Chianti, and all of a sudden THIS IS THE GREATEST RED WINE I HAVE EVER HAD. It consumes you, you must know everything about it, you are enraptured and will always remember it.
Setup (this is based on a true story, actually): you’ve always dreamed of trying Domaine de la Romanee Conti, arguably the greatest red wine on Earth, insanely expensive and a faraway dream for most wine lovers. It’s been a long night, lots of wine, revelry, you’re tired, and the host starts teasing the 1990 Romanee Conti “La Tache” (currently running about $15,000 a bottle or so). Your significant other calls. There’s an issue with a relative. A consternating hour later, your mind full of “what-ifs”, the host opens the legendary bottle. AND….it’s like…NOTHING. No nose, no fruit, just clamped down like a glass of red water. It’s not faulty, or corked, it’s just…”where’s the magic?” You are crushed. Dreams shattered. You slink off to bed.
See? It’s that simple. The greatest wine on earth can be meaningless, and the reverse (and everything in between). No great wines, only great bottles!