Mrs Velkyal and I went out to a local vineyard yesterday to do a tasting, and support a friend of ours on her first day working in a tasting room. We had a very pleasant couple of hours sampling the various libations on offer, and then a fun drive home discussing the differences between a wine tasting and a beer tasting.
First things first, let me state here categorically that I like wine and have been known to drink several bottles in a sitting, quite often on a Saturday in February or March whilst watching the 6 Nations in the pub, one game after the next, eventually lamenting the inability of Scotland to beat Italy. I have written before though about the differences between beer people and wine people, and naturally I prefer the former as a general rule. I find though that beer people also like good wine, spirits, cheese, food, life in general, whereas the wine folk are more likely to only drink wine, believing beer to be below them - this is purely anecdotal by the way.
When it comes to wine, I like red wines, big, bold, fruity and powerful red wines. I love Malbec, whether Argentine or Chilean, it is just my favourite wine, and I have a liking for port as well. White wines are not my thing, light reds usually leave me cold. This got me to thinking about how different that is from my approach to beer. Like most tipplers, I have styles that are my "go to" styles, stout and Bohemian Pilsner in particular, but I can't think of a beer style that I would refuse to drink.
One thing I found particularly interesting was that delicate wines do nothing for me, yet a delicate session beer is something I consider a thing of beauty and worthy of revelling in. As such, the wines I enjoy are the opposite of the beers I like the most - I wonder why that would be? Mrs V suggested that one reason could be the fact that I don't really like the perceived pretentiousness of wine culture, and as such that skews my view of the wine itself. That's an interesting point, especially given my ire when I read and listen to nonsense about beer being the new wine. - beer is beer, not some lifestyle accessory or indicator of how cool or committed to "the cause" one is.
I guess in the final analysis it is very simple, I just prefer beer to wine, just as I prefer "peasant" food to haute cuisine (sometimes I thing it should be called haughty cuisine), pubs to wine bars and paper books to the Kindle or similar. On a slight side note, I was thrilled on Saturday to pick up a four pack of the recently released Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and will be doing a tasting of said delight with some other stouts of similar strength in due course.