Nix on the flavored wines


"Flavored wine isn't as old as the hills, but it's older than a lot of the trees.

Ancient winemakers were not averse to adding herbs and spices to their wines, or even honey or sea water. But somewhere along the way, winemakers decided that grapes were enough. Grape juice and yeast. Wooden barrels in some instances, too — call wood the third ingredient. From that magical mixture come a staggering array of aromas and flavors — more than enough for most people to enjoy, without the addition of other ingredients that turn it into something that veers away from wine as we know it.

What can I say — some of us are just traditional. For example, as far as water goes, I still prefer the original flavor. Just straight up, in a glass. Some H, a little O, and that's it. Does that make me stuck in the past? I don't know, maybe. But I like what I like, and I'm not going to apologize for it. Speaking of O, there's another thing. I'm fine breathing the old-school oxygen. I don't even care if it's odorless. Would it be nice if it were pork chop-scented? Sure. Of course it would. But I can survive without that. Sometimes I even think oxygen is perfect just the way it is.

I'm of the mind that just because something is possible doesn't make it better. Is being connected to everything all at once on a device that you keep in your pocket or constantly hold in your hand a good thing? Is relying on that device for some of your thinking, most of your socializing and all of your shopping a good thing? If everyone wore headphones all the time, would that be good? What about virtual reality goggles? What if we consumed all of our meals in pill form? Would that be a good thing? Where do we draw the line between purity and detrimental advancement?

I got to thinking about all of this when a box of flavored wine showed up at my place. My argument is a little bit apples to taffy apples, because technological advancement has improved wine substantially around the world, and I've already mentioned that "flavored" wine goes back eons. (Retsina, an ancient wine style, is still made in Greece with the addition of pine resin.) Plus, lots of commercial wines have additives in them today — even aroma- and flavor-enhancers. But their purpose is to make the wine smell and taste like better wine, not to turn it into a hybrid wine beverage. It's a fine line, I know, but the larger and more apples-to-regular apples question is: Why isn't wine that's just wine good enough for us? The answer, of course, is: It is good enough......"

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