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There is no such thing as a best wine.

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 It is possible to pay astronomical money for very special wines, but you can also get very nearly the same taste for really very little if you know a bit about wine or are prepared to do a bit of research. Of course people’s tastes vary as well. What is really good for one person may not be to someone else’s liking.

I am rather conservative in my wine drinking, having been brought up on the odd burgundy, some decent claret,

Chablis and Frascati for the light whites, and of course Muscat de Beaume-de-Venise with pudding. Port is also good for after-dinner with Spanish sherry or Italian marsala before.

I wish I had the money and the constitution to be able to do this on a more regular basis all in one meal. Once or twice a year a ‘blow-out’ does happen, but most of the time my best wine is the one I’m happy with on a day-to-day basis.

Of course it’s easy if you live in a wine making region. The local wine is the best. Ask anyone from Bordeaux which is the best wine for drinking every day and they will mention their local vineyard and its product. Go to Sicily and they will say the same. The two wines could not be more different, but the locals will vehemently stick up for their local product as if it is the only wine a sane person would drink (everyone else being outsiders so they don’t know anyway), although they will also know enough about wine to appreciate another good wine if they try it.

I happen to have been very lucky indeed on occasions by being offered a friend’s “best wine”, (that really means you are a very good friend if he/she pulls out a Latour ’72) but so often that means the most expensive rather than necessarily the best. I have one friend who really is a wine buff and does not have a lot of money. He buys wine from the little wineries just next door to all the favourite and famous ones for a fraction of the cost of the ‘real thing’. They are often very similar indeed, and my inexpensive visits are an education. The chap is a cartographer so he’s got maps and wine guides everywhere to work out the cheapest alternatives to the “great vineyards”. If I asked him “what is the best wine?” he would probable say “the one that tastes identical to the real thing for a fraction of the cost.

Of course if you are a wine buff already you probably have a few ‘special ones’ up your sleeve; for some of us, continued study and tasting will help our vinicultural knowledge; if you are lucky enough to live in the Chianti region of Italy then you will have your own best vineyard from which to get wine; if you live anywhere where you can get a bottle of wine you will have a best wine for special occasions from the local shop.


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