Part 1: How important is it to understand “style” in wine?

Published by Tamara Harrison - 26th Aug 2019

After reading Angel feedback over the years, winemaker Adam Barton from Rabbit & Spaghetti has realised that there’s one fundamental reason why Angels are sometimes surprised, for good or bad, by any given wine. It’s the confusion between “variety” and “style”. So Adam has decided to write a series of blog posts designed to help you better identify the wines that will suit your tastes, and understand and explore different kinds of wines that you never knew you’d love!

His plan is to dive in one variety at a time. But first, a quick explanation…

I’ve long felt that the reliance on the use of regional varieties on Australian wine labels can make it difficult for some consumers to navigate the huge number of wines available because it sets up variety as the key determinant of a wine-tasting experience. Whereas, in reality, the influence of a wine’s “variety”, the specific kind of grape we’re crushing and fermenting, is balanced by its “style”, which incorporates a range of overlapping factors, including where the fruit was grown, the climate, and handling in the vineyard and the winery. You could say it’s part nature, part nurture!

So why write a series of blogs about it? Well, every time I read an Angel comment like “I don’t like Riesling” or “I’m not a Chardonnay person”, I worry that they might be missing out on a great wine experience. My hope is that these blog posts will help you all develop a more nuanced understanding of style as it plays out across the different varieties, enabling you to make better-informed purchase decisions in the future, whether you want to keep exploring new wines or are in love with a particular style and want to find more of the same.

Another way to educate yourself would be to pick up a mixed case of any single variety and carefully consider why you do or don’t like each particular wine. Then read more about the approach that the producer has taken, or ask them! You’ll find some gems, and for the others, well, I’ve always been a believer that the less enjoyable tasting experiences help frame the positive ones and are just as important to any person’s wine-tasting journey.

Of course, there’s no better place to do this than Naked Wines, where there’s an incredible range of wines to sample, and a chat with the producer is just a couple of mouse-clicks away! Certainly, from Rabbit & Spaghetti’s perspective, it really is a privilege to be part of the Naked Wines community and I’m determined to do everything I can to give you the best wine experience possible, even if it’s one blog post and one chat with an Angel at a time!

So stay tuned! I’ll kick things off in the next few days…