Diablo Magazine July 2016 : Page 26

The Diablo InTervIew: MacneIl Helping to Bring Beautiful Selfies to the East Bay by British authors who often assumed a familiarity with European geography and a basic familiarity with wine, which most Americans, including myself, just didn’t have. And so, writing The Wine Bible was writing the book I wish I had. Q: Do you feel like you now have the knowledge you once sought, or is there still a lot to learn? A: One of the things that happened as I learned more about wine was that the chasm of questions opened even deeper, and I realized, “Oh, man, there’s even more to know.” It’s a good thing I didn’t feel that way when I started out because then, I never would have embarked on the journey. I don’t know why it is that way with wine; we all feel like we should have instant mastery. It isn’t that way with anything else. Not with relationships or driving a car. Wine has a learning curve. Just being on the journey should be good enough, and it is. Q: What new wines or unusual varietals would you recommend people try? A: Napa and Sonoma have become similar to European wine regions in the sense that we have a generation of people who only have drunk the local wines because the local wines are so good and so numerous. With that said, one of the things that I love about wine is that the more you broaden your experience, the more you fall in love with just about everything. So for example, you could go way out on a limb and try Txakolina [pronounced “chocolina”] from the Basque Country, or Pinot Gris from Slovenia, or orange wines from the Republic of Georgia. Even if you go way out there, these wines will not only be new experiences but also will reinforce what you know you already love. Q: In Wine Country, blends are increasingly popu-lar. What’s your take on this trend? A: Blends are a very good sign about the develop-ing culture of wine in America. Once you master the ideas in isolation, once you know what Cabernet tastes like on its own, then the kaleidoscope can really start, and you can watch how things swirl together in unpredictable ways. So blends definitely are a more sophisticated step. I also think there’s an unpredictability to a blend that makes it exciting. You never quite know if that 3 percent Petit Verdot made any difference. Q: How should people approach a tasting? A: There are some practical and not-so-practical things. For me, I have to be well-rested, and I have to drink a lot of water. I like to think of myself as an athlete; my body has to be in good shape. If you’re a woman, there can’t be any perfume or other extrane-ous smells, and you can’t have a big purse because you can’t hold glasses, swirl them, take notes, all that stuff, and cart around a big purse. I always go fairly well dressed; I actually think that vintners spend more time with people whom they perceive to be serious. In my experience, if you go professionally dressed as opposed to looking like you just stepped out of a gym, you get vintners’ special attention. actual patients, dentistry by sean M. anderson, d.d.s. Call to schedule your Smile Makeover consultation 925-837-4486 26 july 2016

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