To whom it may concern

This is a reply to an email titled, ‘To whom it may concern’.

Charles Darwin would surely approve of the progress made since his death on the 19th April 1882 in building the evolutionary tree of the hominoids. People being everywhere needs explaining. To get us here we evolved a group of sensory receptors that send signals to the brain for processing which then suggests what it may be that we are touching, hearing, seeing, smelling, or tasting. I realise Darwinism does not allow for design mistakes but do wonder how the brains appraisal allows us to then state that only my opinion is the correct one.

Listening to music is a good way to think about wine. The tribal differences are a delight though to enjoy them all is a big task so most of us select a few slices as our favourites.

Wine then is a sub-section of all the food and beverage tastes though a big slice and because of its fashionable status this is growing. On wine I diverge from other commentators as I view the spectrum of flavours and quality as being compressed with not a lot of difference between a cask wine and a 100 pointer. Most professionals see things differently and spend their life picking away at minute details.

This is the email: To whom it may concern.

‘I received a box of wine from a friend of mine in SA as a gift which was lovely – 6 wines, however 2 of the white wines seemed to be off. I had one bottle about 8 weeks ago – thought I just didn’t like the taste, and the second bottle was ok – the third bottle was awful again. We felt it tasted like it had been sitting in the sun whether in storage or via the transport. The other bottles seem to have been ok. I don’t want to go back thru my friend, as he had organised it as a gift. I attach the label. I was very disappointed’.

The wines were, Glug Barossa Valley Grenache Mataro Rose 2019, Glug Adelaide Hills Barossa Valley Semillon Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Glug Barossa Valley Semillon 2018 and Glug Adelaide Hills Chardonnay 2016.

My reply: You ask ‘To Whom It May Concern’ so my hand goes up since with the winemaker I approve the wines. Remarks like awful, seemed to be off, show there is a wide gap between what we believe gives customers pleasure to what you discovered.

How do we close this gap? Think of what happens when you drink a wine. We see, smell and taste and these senses are processed by the brain to form an opinion. If it is your first glass of wine the opinion will be formed from the stored experiences of foods and drinks till that time. Without wide experience it is not possible to understand what wine offers and likely that first reaction was at least one of strangeness, perhaps finding it disagreeable or even medicinal.

The new taster when asked to comment often says, ‘I do not know much about wine, but I know what I like.’ How true as there is no switch in the head that can be turned on so full enjoyment is now yours. All of us must experience what is on offer to build the memory bank so surprises are not analysed as bad wine. How far each drinker travels along the wine path becomes an individual thing.

I likely take a more extreme position than most as if a wine has no technical faults that are so obtrusive as to mask the taste of the wine, then I will drink it if nothing better is at hand. From this position I do not find bad wines only some I prefer over others and one benefit has been teachers seldom turned to me saying, ‘If only he would just listen and learn’.

We know that experience is all in wine tasting as the brain has trouble interpreting a taste that has not been experienced so building a bank of knowledge is most valuable and increases enjoyment.

I loved your title ‘To whom it may concern’ which is unusual and perhaps you write short references for employees on the way out.

I like it for the name of a wine, I think a field blend, a light red, and here is my note:

‘Resume was promising, bright early, falls flat later, fails in the detail, lively on the packing line though lacks concentration and will shine best among others also feeling there way’.

Depicted: tasting with staff in the late 1970’s.

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