Let’s spill some wine
I’m a lucky guy. Recently an e-mail missive from the editor of this paper came through the ether asking whether I might be interested in penning a wine column. Would I? Let me tell you, if anyone ever asks you to write about wine, do it. Why?Because it’s about wine, stupid. To write about wine one has to taste wine. One has to sniff, swirl, inhale and, in general, consume the nectar of the gods. A wine writer must ensure that his or her palate gets copious amounts of berries, cherries, dust, dirt, chocolate, smoke, leather, tar, oak, spice – and this just while tasting a syrah from Walla Walla. A whole new set of tasting criteria applies when one travels to, say, the Rheingau for Riesling or Hungary for Tokaj.But, beyond that, writing about wine allows one to become immersed in the sciences as well – all those words that end with “y”: Geography, geology, genealogy, climatology, etc. The study of wine is the study of all the factors that go into a bottle that make it a living, breathing thing. That concept of “a butterfly flaps its wings and the whole world changes” is truer in the world of wine than in perhaps any other endeavor. Wine is about all of the same things in the world that affect every living thing.And then there are the people of wine. Growers, pickers, winemakers, distributors, sommeliers, writers, tasters. Wine people have an appreciation for life’s finer things. They can slow down, take a minute, sniff, swirl, taste. They can be transported by a smell to the best places in the world, and they can take you with them.This column will be about all of that. Not just where to get a good bottle of cheap wine for your barbecue this weekend, but about the great tastes, the interesting people and the global influences that affect the world of wine. Because commerce is also part of the wide world of wine, expect this column to be sponsored. I will taste wines that are available here in the Roaring Fork Valley and make recommendations as to what tastes are terrific and should be sought out. I will not waste my time, or yours, on bad bottles. If I write about a wine, I believe that you will like it.Brenda Francis already has a fine wine column in the Aspen Daily News. This column is not intended to compete with that column, rather it is meant to complement it. This valley has such a rich wine community with brilliant wine professionals (Richard Betts, Jay Fletcher, Bill Bentley, etc.), world-class cellars (Michael Goldberg, Dennis Scholl, etc.), great purveyors (Gary Plumley, Rhonda Black, etc.) and great wine lists (Montagna, Piñons, Cache Cache, etc.) that there is more than enough wine for us all to cover.By now you may be asking, “Who is this guy and what are his qualifications?” Well, I’m not a sommelier. I’ve never made wine and I can honestly say that the things I don’t know about wine exceed those that I do a hundredfold. But I have traveled the wine world from Romanee-Conti to the Gimblett Gravels. I have attended and tasted at more than half of the Food & Wine Classics here in Aspen. I have perused like a scorecard the great wine lists of the great restaurants throughout America and have developed a healthy knowledge of which wines I like and which wines I would like to be able to afford.I bring to this endeavor an enthusiasm for learning, a passion for tasting, and a desire to impart some good words. Let’s spill some wine.Kelly Hayes lives in Old Snowmass with his wife, Linda, and a black Lab named Vino.
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