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September 10, 2016

The Art of Comparison

10 September 2016 | by Andrea Frost

‘Stop comparing yourself to others’ is advice we are given early on in life and, depending how well we heed it, quite often later in life. It’s reasonable counsel, particularly for those nonsensical situations that pepper our lives. When a friend is gifted a pony for their 10th birthday and you get an illustrated copy of Black Beauty, for example, even though you both ride horses and as far as you can tell, are in the same general sphere of goodness, popularity, hair length and spelling competence – there are few explanations that help make sense of it. It’s best, we are advised, to avoid comparing the two things. And yet… as if!

In wine circles, we have a similarly complex relationship with comparisons. Which is odd, given we spend hundreds of hours every year, and many years every career, lining wines up against each other to compare their attributes. We compare the same wine from different vintages. We compare the same varieties from different winemakers. The same variety from 186 different regions. The same wine from different bottles, and the same bottle in different glasses. If there’s a comparison to be made, we’ll taste it. And yet…

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