why bother?

October 11th, 2007

Last night I was given a bottle of Australian red wine. Doesn’t matter which one, wine is just fermented grape juice, nothing special, and certainly nothing snob-worthy. True connoisseurs drink things like beer and whisky- drinks that are a gazillion times more complex than mere fermented grape juice.

A friend who tutors a colleague has a job getting people to taste wine in (I guess) supermarkets, and so he occasionally gets to keep a spare bottle, and because last night he was over this way to tutor my colleague, he gave me one. That’s all irrelevant, though.

What is relevant is this: Why bother drinking Aussie wine? Wine really is just fermented grape juice, nothing more special than that, and therefore not a drink of real connoisseurs, but still, most wines, including Chinese wines, manage a flavour. Aussie wine has no flavour. None at all.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for the free wine. Never turn down free food or drink. But more importantly, you’re in a good place when a friend comes into something he himself would not normally use and so gives it to you. Doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad, tasty or tasteless, just the fact that somebody would think, “hey, Chris would appreciate this” and so gives it to me is cool. I’m just saying that this particular gift, good as it is, confirms what I always suspected about Aussie wine: It has no flavour. It’s good wine, so far as wine can be good, it just has no flavour.

Alright, wine can be good or bad based on its quality: Good stuff won’t go to your head or leave you buying your own coffin the next day unless you’ve drunk a ridiculous amount; bad wine will bugger you up right away and leave you thinking you went straight to Hell, do not pass go, do not collect $200. But that’s the same as beer, whisky or vodka, or even baijiu. Most beers, whiskies and baijius at least manage some flavour- even Chinese beers, 99.99999999% of which are mere lagers. Aussie wine does not have flavour.

3 Responses to “why bother?”

  1. Anna Lei Says:

    Red wine, good stuff, has a benefical effect on vascular health due to tannin included in it. I like to drink a cup of red wine before go to bed everyday, because it is believed that drinking it before sleep would improve the quality of sleep. As you said above, Aussie wine does not have flavour, so I wonder that anyhow the wine at least has some kind of astringent taste.

  2. Nick Says:

    I’m not an Aussie and I’m not sure what you drank but I think it’s a slight exaggeration to say Aussie wines have no flavour.

  3. wangbo Says:

    Anna: You’re absolutely right about the benefits of red wine. But my attitude is you might as well enjoy it, too, and good flavour is necessary for that.

    Nick: Of course I was exaggerating. But still, in my experience Aussie wine does lack flavour. And it was Warburn Estates “Gossips” cabernet-sauvignon. It claims to have “uplifting berry flavours”, but all I could taste was enough to remind me it was red wine and not red-coloured water.