Wine does not exist in a vacuum. But if you read critic's tasting notes and scores and assessments, you might be led to think that in fact, wine does exist in a vacuum.
That's the attempt, it seems. Wines evaluated by serious critics are examined in bright, sterile rooms with white countertops, often in the morning. Yes, most of these critics obviously love wine and food culture and certainly understand how to bridge the gap between lab and table. But, why can't we figure out a way to paint the picture a little more clearly?
Let's get out of the wine world for a second. In construction, there's a tool that has been around for several years now called a "track saw". It's basically a skill saw that comes with a track which can be set on a 4'x8' wall panel or a sheet of plywood, and once you have the track on the line you want to cut on, you run the saw on the track and voila, you've got a perfect cut.
In the past, carpenters had to lug around a table saw, which required AT LEAST an 18'x8ish' space if one wanted to "rip" (as they say) a sheet of plywood (or whatever else) lengthwise. Yes, one could cut with a skill saw, but, as they say, that required a lot of skill and the cuts would never be as clean.
Well, along comes the track saw. Put the sheet down on some saw horses, line up the track, and run the saw along the track. Perfect cut. Half the space required. No heavy table saw on wheels.
The needs of carpenters actually working on the job site were met in a new way.
What if we could do that for wine criticism? Wouldn't you rather read something like:
"Had the inlaws over last night as well as our cousin Dupree who is staying with us indefinitely. Kids were there too. Made lasagna from Costco™, caesar salad and garlic bread since that's all that my mother in law likes and little Jimmy can handle it as well and I was tired of his screaming. Decided to crack the 2018 Jadot Beaujolais-Villages. Fuckin' hit the spot. I put a little chill on it. Deep colour for Gamay, did a great job cleansing the cheesy lasagna from my palate and was bright and fresh enough to handle tomato sauce. Dry and yummy, clean tasting. Would recommend."
Instead of something like this that I found on Wine.com:
"Brisk notes of hibiscus and fresh blueberry flavors build on this wine’s cocoa- and grape-scented tannins. It’s simple and firm, a Beaujolais-Villages with some weight and character. For coq au vin."
-Wine & Spirits, 89 points
Goddammit I think I am onto something.
The guy pictured above. I would like to know his rating on the wine he is drinking. Because if he is like me, he probably drank the entire thing during Bohemian Rhapsody. I once consumed an entire bottle of Josh Chardonnay during that song on the dance floor at a wedding. It wasn't my wedding and I would never serve that wine to anyone. But, when in Rome...
And I guess that is kind of my point. Why don't we talk about the wine as if it were being consumed on the job site or on the dance floor or in Rome or at the god damned table with in-laws and crying children and overstaying cousins and a messy house?
Wine does not exist in a vacuum. But, you may be vacuuming while you consume it.
I'll get to work on making it clearer as to whether or not X-wine would be suitable for that situation.