Wines for not bad people with good taste

“Am I a bad person? No. I don’t think so, at least. I obey laws that I consider reasonable, I’m nice to most babies, and I’ve never bought or worn professional sports team clothing.

I had a good laugh at those lines in Damon Young “Being a good person is good. Taste good is better” (Washington Post). It’s a funny and insightful piece all around: Young argues that being a “good” person means “you exist beyond expected human behavior” (raising questions about what “expected” might mean to someone). like me who usually expects the worst). With this definition, Young concludes no, he is no good, just an imperfect human being like the rest of us.

Preferring “good taste,” Young writes that the term is misunderstood – often associated with snobbery (which “also gets bad press”). No, he says, it’s not snobbery but “a practice of intentional discernment…less of only appreciating ‘good things’ and more of having quicker recognition of objectively bad things, and choosing not to participate”.

Good taste is, of course, most often invoked in discussions of art, fashion, literature, design and food – including wine, of course. But all of us who aspire to good taste frequently experience our choices being challenged by people of equally good taste. How many times have I been enthused by a recent novel only to have a knowledgeable friend suggest to me (tactfully and with good taste) that I might be losing my mind.

Replace “wine” with “novel” and you have the wine writer’s dilemma. “What do you like about this ‘interesting’ (meaning weird and funky) red? I try the same strategy myself: an “Oh, this Pinot is just a little oaky for me” with taste and tact as I fall to the ground from an overdose of oak.

For Young, however, it’s not just about likes and dislikes; it’s about “prioritizing the care that people put into making and creating things”. Which means, to me, good taste can be enjoying a well-made wine without putting it on my favorites list. But it also means being open to new experiences – not quick to judge, not quick to reject.

All of this speculation is just preparation to once again entice readers to keep trying unusual wines from unusual places. Here are my beautiful unusual of the week, two wines totally different from each other and full of surprises. The first is Deux Bergers 2021 Mourvèdre. Mourvèdre itself is relatively unknown to most casual drinkers. Hailing from the Rhone, it grows well in California, much of its acres in the foothills of the Sierra, the source of the grapes in this bottle.

Grapes can (and often do) produce powerful reds that are often high in alcohol and not particularly suited to my plant-based diet. This one, however, defies expectations. The grapes were picked early, trading maturity and power for liveliness and sparkle. It smells and tastes alive. And delicious.

A great red to sip on the terrace on those beautiful autumn afternoons and/or to accompany a wide variety of autumn meals. We had it with a dinner of linguine and red sauce; he imbued this simple, familiar dish with a sophistication that was both fun and surprising. Called “Li’l Trouble” after a Nigerian dwarf goat, he falls so easily that he “might cause a little trouble”. Fortunately, it only contains 10.3% alcohol, so the “problem” should be minimal.

Said goat is owned by William Allen, who founded the Two Shepherds winery in Windsor in 2010, and his partner Karen Daenen who joined in 2015. They make wines in small batches (William’s nickname: “mad master of small lots”) in the fashion of yesteryear. , mostly from Rhone grape varieties, naturally fermented, minimal intervention, aged in neutral oak barrels. In other words, like a good shepherd, they guide their grapes, protect them from harm, and otherwise let them roam free. Get a bottle at the co-op – it’s a bit pricey ($23) but well worth it. Refrigerate half an hour before serving.

Wine n°2: Weegmüller 2019 Schheurebe Trocken. Scheureb was a new varietal to me, and in fact, at only 100 years old, a fairly new varietal in a world of old varieties, Riesling one of its relatives. It is grown mainly in Austria and Germany, this one from the Palatinate region. The wine is made by Stephanie Weegmüller, one of the first well-known winemakers in Germany. She and her sister Gabrielle grow their grapes organically and produce their local wines with care and passion.

I picked up the bottle at the Pip in Dixon ($19) and can’t wait to go back for more. Scheureb, I discovered, is a wildly aromatic grape variety, capable, as here, of becoming an intense wine bursting with fruit and flowers (think apricot, orange blossom). It’s especially delicious with fall foods like roasted butternut squash, red peppers and sheep cheeses. But I can’t wait to try it with seafood too, maybe an oyster stew.

The first sip is deceptively sweet – like a gewartztraminer or riesling — but it finishes dry, spicy, round and rich. If you’re looking for a break from Swiss chard or Sauvignon Blanc, try a bottle. Oh, try a bottle anyway. It’s amazing.

If you don’t particularly like these two bottles, well, just by trying them, you choose to support the “good stuff” rather than the “bad stuff”, the bad stuff in this case being carelessly manufactured and harmful. for the planet. wine, as are so many mass offerings. Which means, according to Damon Young, you have good taste.

And you can still be a good person. Or not – you can join the club of not good not bad people. Lots of interesting people here.

— Susana Leonardi is a resident of Davis; contact her at [email protected] Comment on this column at

Shirley M. Pinder