Chang­ing the con­ver­sa­tion.

Halliday - - Basics -

When I started my ca­reer, my tool­kit of wine words didn’t in­clude min­eral, ox­i­dised, savoury or umami. Wines also lacked sev­eral of the di­men­sions that are ev­i­dent in so many to­day. This meant we didn’t need to talk about skin con­tact, whole bunch, lees stir­ring or mi­cro oxy­gena­tion, or even terms like tex­tu­ral or ter­roir. Wine was sim­pler and so was the lan­guage used to de­scribe it. Things have changed. Many wine pro­fes­sion­als tend to use lan­guage that has been honed by cir­cu­lar con­ver­sa­tion with other wine pro­fes­sion­als. Of­ten this is where the words can be­come a de­ter­rent, turn­ing the plea­sure of drink­ing and dis­cov­er­ing wine into an ex­pe­ri­ence rid­dled with anx­i­ety and fear, mak­ing the sim­plest wine choices ter­ri­fy­ing. But just as there is more than one kind of wine and drinker, there is also more than one way to talk about wine.

It’s im­por­tant to note that a chef and a wine­maker in­her­ently use the same lan­guage. Whether it’s build­ing a dish or mak­ing a wine, be­fore they chart the in­fi­nite spa­ces of flavour and aroma, they build a foun­da­tion us­ing ba­sic taste and tex­ture.

The som­me­lier’s role is to take this shared lan­guage and trans­late it for the guest through food and wine on the restau­rant floor.

In the same way that restau­rants have stripped back fine din­ing and the gas­tro­nomic class sys­tem, wine also needs a change in at­ti­tude and ap­proach that re­flects the way wine drinkers live and the life­styles they lead.

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