"But, is it good?"
That's what I asked one of my wine reps recently. And it's a question that's probably been circulating in many others' heads lately. In recent years, we've seen certain words pop up in the wine world more and more: biodynamic , natural , and organic are the big three. Dig a little deeper and you hear other things like: hand-picked, native yeasts, sustainable farming, no added sugars, no added sulfites, grower Champagne . It's a lot to think about as a customer, and if you're a wine-buyer it's a lot of pressure as well.
Can you put philosophy in a glass? This is something I often talk about with my boyfriend, who is also a wine buyer. We think you can… as long as it tastes good. Think about it, would you rather buy your juice from someone who spends all day in his own vineyard, tending to every vine, and wanting the grapes to speak for themselves? Or do you want to buy juice from someone who buys grapes from someone else and pays yet another person to print out a recipe of which yeasts to use to make your wine taste, look, or feel a certain way… affected ?
My perspective may differ from yours. See, I manage a restaurant that hangs its whole future on this philosophy. Come eat at The Tasting Room . There is absolutely nothing on our menu that we don't know exactly where and, more importantly for us, whom it comes from. We know how Tim from Eckerton Farms cares for his heirloom tomatoes and lettuces. We know how passionate Anne from Saxelby Cheese is about her dairy farms. We trust that John from Counter Culture Coffee is always going to bring us the best, which can mean we don’t always have decaf.
And so it would stand to reason that our wine list is also reflective of this belief. We may not always tell you; we don’t want to preach about biodynamic or organic. But we believe in it. Instead, we may tell you a funnier story about Abe Schoener from Scholium Project crushing grapes with his own feet for his "Iseult" Syrah or hand picking only the obscure white grapes off of merlot clusters to make a limited edition wine. But if you're that person who dared ask about our Savennieres , we might tell you how nutty Nicolas Joly and his daughter Virginie are about biodynamic principles and farming and how absolutely delicious the resulting wine is.
At the end of the day, if it isn't good, I'm not going to buy it. Nor would I serve it to you. But I do believe that if it was good enough for farmers thousands of years ago, it's good enough for us today. I would rather buy wine from winemakers who have strict beliefs in what they are producing because of just that… they believe and stand for something.
And I believe you can tell, or rather taste , the difference.
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