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Is your wine "sponge worthy?

May 01, 2013 10:24PM

Is your wine “sponge worthy”?

The amount of wine in today’s marketplace is unprecedented.  The number of choices, styles, blends and varietals is one of the appealing aspects of wine consumption in the modern era.  However, with the increased number of selections available the consumer is left to fend for themselves on a wine’s quality and “worthiness” of their hard earned income.  It is with this in mind we pose the question, is the wine you’re drinking “sponge worthy”?

For readers with whom the term “sponge worthy” is foreign, please familiarize yourself with this clip  Of course for those familiar with the “sponge worthy” phrase, the clip serves as a humorous trip down memory lane.  Let’s now focus on sponge worthy attributes as wine parallels to seduction, romance, love and sensuality are infinite.

In the millennial old dance between the female and male species the assessment of a “mate” is very similar to the assessment of wine.  Here’s a quick review.  In wine assessment the first clues of a wine’s “sponge worthiness” is obtained through site.  One gazes upon a wine and absorbs a wine’s radiance, depth, color, brightness and age as they slowly reveal themselves similarly to the way one may gaze on a prospective suitor.  Sure, a wine can hide certain elements, like age, much like plastic surgery can cloak a potential suitor’s age, but there are other techniques that will reveal character, like smell.

A healthy, nose-deep-in-the-glass whiff of a wine’s bouquet can be mind-altering.  It can penetrate your soul, trigger neurological associated memories and transport you to a different time or place.  While an “off-putting” aroma is not a definitive attribute of a flawed wine, or suitor, it should serve as a warning sign.  In wine, a wet, damp, dankness aroma, similar to cold wet cardboard is a clear sign of a wine being “corked” and should be avoided.  Similarly, a wet, dank cardboard aroma on a potential suitor could indicate a cardboard domicile and you may wish to avoid.  After you’ve feasted with the eyes and inhaled the bouquet, it’s time for a taste.

When tasting wine it’s important to almost pretend the wine is mouthwash.  You want to wash it over your tongue, deep into the recesses of your mouth and pull air through the wine with slightly pursed lips.  A wine’s sweetness, complexity, depth, structure, tannins, acidity and flavor are all revealed as you swish the wine in your mouth.  The more experienced taster is able to discern region, alcohol ranges, grape variety and often even vintage!  It’s amazing what one is able to learn about a wine, or for that matter a suitor, with their mouth.  A sip of great wine, like a great kiss, begs for another.

Sponge-worthy wines are usually made in small quantities.  The mass produced wines, similar to the ubiquitous players and divas, will quickly reveal their flaws with the appropriate scrutiny.  The best bet to guarantee a sponge worthy wine is to know where your wine is from, the people making it, the care in production and the commitment to quality.  There are now 7,000 wineries in the US and over 1,000 virtual and real wineries in Napa County alone.  The opportunity to be fooled is everywhere cloaked in fancy labels, slick marketing and well designed shelf-talkers.  A few quick internet searches will help you find the right wine for you.  And if you need any assistance, just email us as we feature a sponge worthy wine once a week.


Martin Cody


Cellar Angels, LLC