The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

Exercises in Enjoyment

Posted on | January 31, 2011 | Written by Jordan Birch | 1 Comment

There is a moment we are trained to watch for.  It ranges from a split second to full minutes.  It can reveal itself in sound, in motion, in words – sometimes it can be nothing except a widening of the eyes, a relaxation in the shoulders, a tilt of the head.  I am speaking, of course, of genuine enjoyment.  Reading people is a big part of what we do when we’re selling wine.  We use our knowledge and expertise to lead our clients to producers and vintages that will draw from them a deep sense of satisfaction.

The nature of enjoyment is a very personal thing and we all experience as well as express it differently, but I’ve found there are some common instinctive traits that can reveal the true impression of a particular experience.  When it comes to tasting wine, there is often more to be learned from body language and facial expressions than in a verbal descriptive analysis.

A few days ago, when our shipments of 1999 and 2000 Case Basse di Soldera Brunello di Montalcino arrived, management called us all down to the Studio del Gusto to acquaint ourselves with the vintages.  We stood and sipped and discussed the attributes of each, and though I could hear the words excitedly pouring from the mouths of my colleagues, I didn’t really discern their meaning.  All I could hear were warm tones of appreciation and time seemed momentarily suspended as the energy in the room became buoyant.  Eyelids lowered to half squints, there was much gesticulating and wide smiles.  A few people became over animated, others became still as stone.  Awash in this sea of expressive stimuli, I found myself marveling in the individual reactions on display.

Soldera, of course, has the capacity to please the most discerning wine aficionados, and it’s practically guaranteed to put an “O” on their face.  With more reasonable every day wines, the job of discerning enjoyment becomes much more of a poker like experience.  No matter the wine, whoever the person, very day here at IWM we study and taste and talk in order to discover and explore as many ways to please you as possible.  And if you doubt our sincerity, just take a good look at our faces.


One Response to “Exercises in Enjoyment”

  1. Jude Birch
    January 31st, 2011 @ 5:00 pm

    I’ve seen this face often and can say – jord does have an excellent internal gauge for measuring enjoyment, wine, food, and life in general. His grandfather used to say, “he thinks this morning is just for him” – I add, he’s learned how to bring the good to others.


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