Friday, April 9, 2010


It's now been 3 weeks since I stopped smoking. Notice how I said 'stopped' and not 'quit.' The harsh realization came to me that I've been a 'smoker' far longer than I'd like to admit, and though I've tried 'quitting' before, I've never been as serious about it as I am now and I don't want to jinx it. So I stopped. Three weeks and counting without gnarly, burnt taste-buds has opened up my palate to a whole new world of flavor. Even though my palate has fallen out of shape since the daily blind tastings I endured last harvest, I am finding new complexities I never knew existed. Ironically the first time I really realized my heightened sense was when I was able to pick out 'leather' and 'tobacco' in a burly California Cab, two flavors that I must have tasted in just about every wine when I was smoking on the regular. Now I know quite a few people in the industry who are heavy smokers (cigars and pipes count) who have way better palates than your average punter, and if I'm not mistaken, even Robert Parker is a smoker, which probably explains why his obnoxious taste shies away from subtleties. More than anything else, I'm all the more inspired to keep 'not smoking.' Besides being healthy and cheap, it makes my wine taste exponentially more interesting.