A great bottle of wine deserves a great tasting note.
Think of that today as the Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2007 comes out. It's that time of year when wine lovers will be given heaps of wine recommendations. My last post is an example -- Phaneuf's Quebec wine consumer guide that just appeared on Montreal shelves. No doubt that it is the ultimate stocking stuffer for the Québécois wino you love.
But the year-end roundups, ratings and rankings make for rather obvious, somewhat clichéed gifts. Leave them for the unfashionable to give. If I was getting myself a little gift during the upcoming holiday season, it would be the Wine Tasting Notebook, pictured above, from Steve De Long of De Long Wine Info.
This Wine Tasting Notebook, which is newly available on Steve's site (click through via the linked image above, or check my Blogroll for De Long Wine Moment), is comprised of a 60-page notebook and a fold-out spill-proof quick reference guide to wine tasting terms that flips over to reveal a step-by-step how-to instruction on taking tasting notes.
My first official wine tasting note -- way back in the day when this blog was still a baby -- was with Steve's guidance. But what can I say? You don't need to be a beginner to benefit from his clear and complete wine notes package. I love the design, the useful cheat sheets and the conciseness of his guidelines. I used them then and I use them now, with my Vistorta review from a few days ago being wine note #1 in the book he sent me.
In fact, forget beginners. This notebook arrived to save me just at the time when I was floundering amid dead soldiers (empty wine bottles are only a decorative touch until they outnumber the volumes on your bookshelf). I remember looking deep into the abyss of my cork drawer, wondering why I had all these corks and no notes to immortalize the wine they once stoppered. I was becoming a virtual black hole for wine. Taking tasting notes is the healthy way out, or at least that's the way I see it.
But most importantly, with Steve's terminology and how-to guides, your note taking won't flounder before your wine glass while your dinner sits there getting cold. He presents a painless solution. The pre-printed note pages are laid out to allow you to quickly circle, fill in the blanks and jot down your most salient thoughts. Most people don't realize that you don't need to write a book for these things (unless you are lucky enough to come across one of those wines that totally illuminate you, and in turn, your pen as it fills the entire page).
FRESH NEW DUDS TO KEEP THE WINO BEYOND REPROACH
Steve was kind enough to comp me a "Your Brain on Wine" T-shirt that was exactly my colour. It was a nice shade that Steve calls pencil shavings, which is wine tasting lingo for copper-grey.
My first time wearing it was at work. I had a dress shirt with check print over top of it. I remember I was meeting with the person who was previously my boss's boss. Like many of the people I work with, my ex-boss's boss knew about my wineblog after the local newspaper printed my full name and a URL.
It's not exactly fame though. To tell you the truth, I don't think anyone in the office actually follows my posts at all. They tend to try and track my hobby in another way. They study my clothes for traces of wine stains. Yes, this is the civilized society we live in. I believe it's most precisely called Schadenfreude.
So anyway I wasn't surprised when my ex-boss's boss paid me a back-handed compliment about my shirt as we exited the meeting room, saying that it suited me very much "...and you don't even see any marks from the wine..." [laughter].
At which point I did a Clark-Kent-in-a-phone-booth and graciously, yet somewhat indignantly, stuck out my unbuttoned chest to reveal my "Brain on Wine" T-shirt. And by way of correction, I replied: "Look -- the mark of wine is always there," gesturing with hand over heart. I think anyone watching from a distance would've wanted to have me committed. On second thought, those in my immediate midst too.
No matter. Problem solved. I don't think my coworkers will be searching me for wine stains anymore. Thanks to Steve.