June 28, 2018

Once More, With Feeling

An excerpt from my latest column on, Andrea's salon, in which I explore the limitations of a purely rational approach to wine tasting.

28 June 2018 | by Andrea Frost

I’ve long been troubled by the disparity between the enormous, glorious, galaxy of feelings that wine elicits, and the narrow band of tools, ideas and language we’re given to express them. Drinking and thinking about wine ignites our minds and delights our senses, to speak nothing of the cosmos of pleasure when the two are combined. And yet, while our hearts and minds explode with myriad feelings as we taste wine, we’re so often asked to react rationally and without emotion.

I see how we arrived here. A few decades ago, the industry responded to wine writing’s reputation for being too flowery and not objective enough. What’s more, the burgeoning wine trade and the subsequent marketing and media machines needed tasting tools to educate both trade and consumer. As a result, a common language and a curriculum were created. To understand wine objectively we had to remove the subject, and with the subject also went the feelings.

But despite the benefits to the industry, and in pursuit of wine as a way to the good life, I’ve never quite been able to shake the idea that the aim to consciously compartmentalise ourselves — to separate what we taste from what we feel— means we not only miss out on something pleasurable, but also something meaningful.

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