Invention / Convention and Personal Taste

conveninvent3WEBWhenever you host a tasting party do you assemble a play list of music chosen to enhance the experience? How do you choose your music: fit it to the tastes of the imagined guests, or fit it to what the host enjoys?

This choice is faced by wine snobs so often that we must develop a resolve and thickness of skin like a rutting rhino. It goes right along with which wines to open and the banishment of perfumes and colognes for guests. In the world of commerce and revenue generation the owner of the enterprise faces the same choice; personal taste versus broader appeal. It has been widely recognized that Robert Parker and his acolyte Michelle Roland changed the taste of wines in much of the world by awarding high scores to heavily oaked heavyweight reds. Rolland made a career as an internationally coveted advisor to Old and New World wineries. Let me get to my point. The  popular choice will almost always be in conflict with the right choice. Wait! Too much independence in that choice?

Case in point for you to decide.

Eberhard Weber is a jazz musician who was dissatisfied with the quality of sound he could coax out of a conventional standup bass. So he invented his own electric upright bass which produced a “sustained tone.” He has stuck with this instrument since the 1970s. He also likes to drum on his bass enjoying the rich sound [ed. you lifted most of this from wikipedia, didn’t you?].

Compare to the following press release…

“Kathie Lee Gifford has launched her own wine line. She says the wines are not acid, or bitter, or have an aftertaste, or are ‘interesting.’ They are just easy to drink. There is Gifft Chardonnay and Gifft Red Blend. Both wines sell for $20 and are produced by Sheid Family Wines in Monterey County. She says 10% of the profit will be donated to charity.”

Ten percent to charity? I suppose that is the normal standard. She is not interested in a wine that is interesting or that has what we would call an acidic spine. Kathie Lee and Hoda suggest they throw down a glass of wine while unearthing deeply seeded cultural poo. The Sheid operation is the best choice for this since they have the mega-production facility that can bottle millions of Gifft wines and they also have no issues with P-L-O-N-K.

Here are some interesting wines recently tasted.

via-roseCROPWEB2013 Vie Vite $15 (Whole Foods): Provencal blend of 30% Cinsault, 30% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 20% and Carignan. Tasty, Serve chilled. Go to the website and see the hot chix you can meet if you drink this wine. 12.5%

TC-Dianthus-2013WEB2012 Tablas Creek Dianthus $22: The TC profile of serious wines, even Rose. Blend of majority Mourvedre, Grenache, and Counoise from oldest plantings on site. Shows the quality of what are now 20 year old vines. Formidable. Bracing. Lovely. 14.5%

2011-arpegeWEB2011 Domaine du Val de Saône Arpege $23: Garagiste buy. Blending Chardonnay and Aligote. The Aligote firms up the Chard adding the mineral quality. Wine by Guy Bussière whoever that is. Dude on Cellar Tracker says “Smells like saison after opening- opens up beautifully. Tart green apple, honey, smoke, yeast. Very tart- needs food. Really liked this.” We also liked it.

2011-defaix-vaillonsWEB2011 Defaix Vaillons $22 (Eno Fine Wine): Superb Premier Cru Chablis. All the steel fermentation with a firm bottom and upright pillaring. Yeh, makes no sense. Trying to capture the firmness of this wine. Like the great Belzoni the early 19th century plunderer of Egypt. 13%

Eberhard Weber’s Electric Upright Bass would be too far out for Kathy Lee. However, his contribution to modern jazz certainly is a gifft.