Why Drink Odd?
Why am I making such a fuss over the unusual and the obscure? I touched on the most practical reason in this post: Value. If you’ve never heard of a certain brand, region, grape variety or type of spirit, you probably won’t be willing to pay a high price to experiment with it. Well-known names can command a premium price simply because they’re low-risk.
I am constantly in search of good wine values, and most of the wines I describe on this site pack a lot of flavor for the price. Like most people, I’m on a budget. Usually I want tasty wines that cost $15 or less. But it can be daunting to weed through the huge array of inexpensive unusual wines out there. It’s my goal to single out the wines that are not merely unusual, but unusual and delicious. Because it can be difficult to find a specific wine if you’re not shopping in exactly the same stores I am, I try to highlight entire regions and wine varieties to watch out for whenever possible.
As important as price is to me, there is another reason much dearer to my heart: Sticking up for the little guy. By definition, most of the wines and spirits I write about are made by small producers without big marketing budgets. For just about all these winemakers and distillers, their work is a labor of love, and I like to think that’s something you can taste. Most of us would surely much rather drink something made with real heart than something concocted in a lab, but too often, we’re afraid to leave our comfort zones and try something new. Drink fearlessly, my friends! You’ll discover some incredible stuff, and you’ll be helping small businesses.
You’ll also strike a blow against flavor homogenization, helping ensure that the vast world of wine and spirits available to us today continues to be gloriously, wonderfully diverse. And what fun it is, to learn about all these fascinating little nooks and crannies which are making delicious wines and spirits! Taste and smell are two of our most powerful senses, and every now and then, a drink transports me right back to its home, or even back in time. Bottles of something unusual and obscure almost always come with great stories.
Some of you may also be wondering: Why wines and spirits? Most blogs focus on either just wine or just spirits/cocktails. That keeps things nice and tidy, but that’s not how most people I know drink. To be sure, there are some of us who only drink one type of alcohol, but if you’re like me, sometimes you want some wine, sometimes you want a cocktail, and sometimes you want a beer (I don’t typically write about beer, because I had to draw the line somewhere). I see no reason to deny ourselves the pleasure of mixing it up, and I want this blog to be somewhere you can go whenever you’re in the mood to taste something new and different.
So as you’re doing your alcohol shopping, consider picking up something unusual and obscure to open with dinner or give as a present. Seek out a bottle of cheer with a story, crafted with heart and soul, rather than just another bottle of booze made in a factory.
I usually seek out the obscure grape in buying wine. I didn’t know there was a website for this, but now I found yours. I got a chart at a California winery called “De Long’s Wine Grape Varietal Table”. It ranks some 184 grapes for acidity v. “weight”, kind of like the Periodic Table of the Elements. I am happy to say I have tried wines containing at least 75 of the wine grapes.
I commented separately on Silvaner. You may be interested in this post – http://cellarfella.com/2012/10/11/sylvaner-forgotten-grape-kofererhof-adige/
Thanks for your comment, and it’s nice to hear from a fellow obscure grape fan. I love the sound of that chart, and that’s impressive you’ve tried 75 varieties so far. I’ll check out your comment on Silvaner – I had a few of those myself when I lived in Germany, but I don’t think I was buying the good ones.
Greetings from Scotland! I’m considering starting my own wine blog as a hobby and came across yours while having a browse. I’m no expert, but I love your odd wine idea. Life is too short to be boring. Since I started becoming more interested in wine, I’ve tried an orange wine from Georgia, and group of us held an evening with a theme of “wines you’ve never heard of”. Before then, I’m sure most of us had no idea wine was even made in Hungary or India!
Hi David — That’s great you’re thinking of starting your own blog! Life is indeed too short to be boring. I love that you tried an orange wine from Georgia and that you had a “wines you’ve never heard of” party. What a great idea! When you start your blog, be sure to post a comment here with the link — I would love to read it.
Hi Rob, my blog is now online, https://discoveringdrinks.wordpress.com/
There’s not much on it yet, and the design will probably change (as far as a free WordPress account will allow me!) but it’s a start! I tend to keep my Instagram populated with pretty much every bottle I try. Cheers 🙂