Taste Shift

I’ve been noticing that people’s taste in wine has been shifting in the last year or two, but that shift became most noticeable at the New Year’s Eve party I attended last night. Before, the vast majority of those who’d drink wine would favour a white — most often a Chardonnay. (To quote the Queen of Sheba: “I never met a Chardonnay I didn’t like.”) A noticeable few would drink a red — often a Chianti or a relatively light equivalent. I was resolutely in the crowd that drank white, and I liked mine dry.

(Sidebar: It was said somewhere that one glass of red (not white) wine a day could be beneficial for some people. This pronouncement seems to have given red white its best free publicity in years.)

Last night, however, of the 12 party-goers who drink wine, 10 favoured red. Not only that, but they all tend to favour a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Shiraz from Southeast Australia. Lindemann’s remains a reasonably priced, not-rot-gut choice in this category; Wolf Blass (Yellow or Red Label), while considerably more expensive in this part of North America, is a delight and a treat. Apparently, Wolf Blass Yellow Label was perhaps the late Timothy Findlay’s favorite wine.

(Another sidebar: If you’re not familar with Timothy Findlay… you MUST get to know the writings of this most beloved Canadian storyteller. Sadly, we lost “Tiff” in June 2002.)

While my shift from white to red had been fermenting for a few years, it happened decisively on Poupoune’s birthday in 1999. I had taken her to The Windjammer, arguably Moncton’s finest restaurant, and we asked the waiter to bring us the red wine he felt would go best with our meal. He brought us a bottle of Renmano Chairman’s Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz (SW Australia), and that sealed it! I’m now resolutely in the crowd that drinks red, but I still like mine dry. In fact, the drier, the better.

Unfortunately, that Renmano is no longer available in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, and I was never able to find it in Quebec. But if you like a complex, oaky, full-bodied red and can find this one where you are, you MUST give it a try. And think of me while you’re sipping it.