The Guardian last weekend had a review of a new book about wine by Eric Asimov.
The main target of the book seems to be wine critics and their blind tastings, scorecards and tasting notes. It reminded me of a recent BBC4 documentary about Australian wine in which snobby critics who laughed about Chateau Chunder from Down Under went on to rate it highly in blind tastings.
Asimov talks about his wine epiphanies, the moments he understood what all the fuss was about. I can relate to that in terms of beer: the first glass of Schumacher Alt in Düsseldorf, Päffgen Kölsch in Cologne, Augustiner Edelstoff in Munich and Schlenkerla Rauchmärzen in Bamberg.
Apart from the odd glass of champagne at weddings and christenings, I don't drink wine. It's like classical music - something lots of people seem to derive a great deal of pleasure from but whose appeal I find hard to understand.
Maybe the reason is that I've never drunk really good wine. There's a lot of talk about how wine's been demystified and democratised over the years but I'm not sure that's really true. Maybe cheap wine has but the really good stuff is still beyond the pockets of all but a few rich collectors. With beer it's the other way round: the best beers in the world tend to be cheaper than the mass-produced ones.