My brother Tim, right when he got back from Afghanistan. Now he's slinging wine, life is good!
Do you judge your wine like you judge your food? - Guest blog by Tim Servold “Organic matter is a remedy for almost all the ills of the soil” -Federico Curtaz of Gaja Winery
So you have been eating a clean, unprocessed, whole diet ever since you came across this Paleo craze. You’re feeling the best you ever had. You’re sleeping great, killing it at work and crushing the workouts when you go to the gym. Now occasionally for whatever reason (I’m not saying you even need one) you decide to partake in a glass or two of your favorite vino. You run to a nearby grocery store and grab a bottle. Maybe a bottle you’ve heard of, had before, seen at a restaurant or most commonly, you thought the label was cool.
But other than that, there is not a whole lot of thought that goes into your choice. Why? You know that technically chicken breast is fine to eat but are all chickens created equal? You’re reading this and follow Pete’s blog so I know you know that is not the case.
Wine is no different and unlike the labeling that we see on the food we eat, wine is not required to tell you what sort of chemicals, stabilizers, treatments etc. that they were given before entering the bottle. I’m not saying the label on your food is telling the whole story but it reveals more than “2009 Cabernet Sauvignon” does. So what to do? Well, similar to the start of your Paleo journey, start by asking questions. Find a good bottle shop near your house and go pick the wine buyer's brain. They’ve taken the time to pick out small production wines that have been given the tender love and care they deserve. They would love nothing more than to share this with a curious customer. Ask about any wines they have that are “sustainably grown” or “bio-dynamically” farmed. This is the wine equivalent to "grass fed" or "pastured". They should perk up and start talking. Listen.
Don’t be afraid to venture outside of your comfort zone. Some of the best values out there can be found in Spain or Italy. By value I’m talking the $10-20 range. This is where having a trusted wine guy to buy from comes in handy. He can show you a Spanish wine whose wine maker chose to use his neighbor’s horse manure as fertilizer because it gives the soil just the right amount of nitrogen. Just the amount that requires enough stress on the vine to produce smaller clusters of grapes that give him the best chance to make dense, complex and delicious wines. The skins will be a little thicker and therefore less susceptible to rot or disease and will also give a more color and flavor upon press.Ok, I’m geeking out on you guys a little bit but you get the picture. Hopefully you’ll have to tell him to shut up too. A very wise man told me recently: ‘Tim, you are not selling some bottle of wine, you are selling someone!’ That really stuck with me and made a big impression and got me thinking. Someone has poured their blood, sweat and tears into the soils beneath their feet. Given everything they had to make a beautifully balanced, deliciously complex wine and were gracious enough to bottle it up and share with the world. How lucky are we?!
Now the fun part! Get out there, go to tastings at local wine bars, try new and different things and ask questions! Wine is but a small part of the history of people, but what an incredibly awesome part it is. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you’d like a recommendation on a good store near you. Cheers!