When someone first hears that I work in the wine business, one of their first questions is, “What’s your favorite wine?”
I hate that question. It’s friendly and indicates that the person is interested in letting me nerd-out for a few minutes about something I love, but it’s way too difficult to answer succinctly!
I’ve found that most people who are able to answer that question with a single sentence fall into two categories; they have either only just started getting into wine and haven’t tasted many different bottles, or they are Master Sommeliers or Masters of Wine and have tasted just about every different wine available, and have done so in a professional capacity that allows them to select the (subjectively) best wine.
I am not quite at that level, nor will I be for years. I’m working towards tasting every wine ever, but that’s a marathon, not a sprint. Also, I have too many opportunities to taste wine outside of a professional tasting, and that means that my opinion of the wine is colored by the experience in which I drink it.
That’s not a bad thing, either. I really enjoy a lot of wine that wouldn’t hold up in a professional tasting because I tasted them in a setting that they were well-suited for. Not every $15 bottle of red table blend is going to taste good coming from the “correct” glassware as you sit and take proper tasting notes. But put that wine at an evening barbecue, and it is going to be delicious! There are wines that are more versatile, such as Prosecco and Bordeaux-style blends, but wines come in different styles and price ranges because they’re not meant to be one-size-fits-all. It’s great to play around with the different varieties and styles, and if someone insists on keeping the same wine in their glass regardless of circumstance, they’re going to miss out.
So when I answer the “favorite wine” question, I usually preface my (inevitably essay-length) reply with, “I hate that question! It depends.” Then I’ll break it down into categories: bubbly, white, red, high-end, everyday. Because life is too short to have tried just one wine, and there is no reason I should limit myself to just one favorite, either.