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When talking about wine, people love to throw around the term ‘complexity’. But what exactly is it, and when you taste it, how do you know you’re tasting it? Of course, like beauty, all things subjective will always be in the eye of the beholder. But as a rule, a wine is considered to be complex if it offers multiple flavors simultaneously, if it changes over time, and if you can still taste it, long after swallowing. I can still taste some wines I tasted years ago…
Myriad factors must come together to make a wine ‘complex’, some of which are little understood. But a few things are known for certain to set off a five-piece band in your mouth rather than a one-note tuba recital. First up: contrast. Grapes love the yin and yang of warm days, followed by cool nights. They also love cool breezes, which help to regulate air and leaf temperature, and allow more consistent ripening. Odd as it may sound, poor soils also make the list. Not poor as in devoid of life, but planting vines in rich loam is like feeding a child two pounds of Skittles for dinner. Things start out well, and then comes the crash. Vines like to work, to dig, and hunt for what they need, which can only happen in poorer, and often rocky, soils.
Where is one most likely to find all of these conditions in one place? In the mountains. Whether steep or gently rolling, volcanic or granitic, mountains invariably offer elevation, breezes, and weathered soils. Yet they are as different from one another as they are alike, and there’s no better way to experience this than by tasting the wines each unique range creates.
We’ll sample bottles from the Sierra de Gredos, Sierra Foothills, Mount Etna, and the Mosel in Germany, to name a few. We’ll taste whites, reds, maybe a rosé? Above all, it will be a hunt for complexity. We hope you’ll join us. As always, an array of beautiful breads and cheeses, all from Murray's Cheese Shop, will be on offer, and paired with the wines.