Did you ever have one of those days where you feel inexplicably strange from head to toe? Well, when weird is the rule rather than the exception, maybe you just have to go with it; swim with the tide and not against it. On this week’s episode of Grape Encounters, David decides to surrender to the strange world that Covid-19 has confined us to and take a deep dive into the weirdness of wine. Consider this. When the parents of Baby Boomers first began drinking wine, there were just a handful of choices. That was it. You didn’t go to a grocery store and have an aisle that had 500 or 1000 wines to choose from. But today, not only do we have those grocery stores, we have package stores, big box stores and online retailers as well; all eager to sell us almost anything imaginable. Yep, these days, it’s oh so easy to get off the beaten path and out into the weeds where an endless array of offbeat wines await and, among them, there are some truly imaginative alternatives.
This week, we’re going wonderfully weird with Wes. He’s been a favorite contributor to Grape Encounters from nearly day one. Wes Hagen wears a whole lot of hats and manages to feel comfortable in any scenario he finds himself in. Wes is a fabulous winemaker at J Wilkes. He’s also an educator, wine judge, AVA author, multi-brand ambassador, renaissance man and hippie, you can take Wes Hagen down any road imaginable and he’ll help you discover things you never imagined existed.
When we asked Wes to join us in a discussion about the weirdness of wine, he was all in, declaring, “Hey, I’ve been weird for 51 years. So I’ve got a couple extra days on you if you think it’s just been weird for a year. I’ve been a wine professional for 25 years and I only know three things about wine. First, I smell it. If it smells good, I go to step two…. I put it in my mouth. If it tastes good, I go to step three. I drink it. And that’s it. If you smell it, you taste it. If you enjoy the taste, you drink it. As a certified priest of Baucus, let me just say that he wants all of us to drink all the wines out there. And the weirder the wine we drink, the more we’ll understand those kinds of blue-chip wines. The Cabernets of the world. The Chardonnays of the world.”
When it comes to exploring the vast world of wine, there’s no better travel companion than Wes Hagen. He’ll try anything twice. He always has an open mind and thrives on new discoveries. And why wouldn’t he? After all, he’s created a seemingly endless selection of wines that never existed before Wes and will never exist again. The moral of this week’s story is, “find something weird to choose and NOT tasting means, “you lose!”
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