Author Archives: Katherine Jarvis

  1. Are you an “oak-phobic”? Do you suffer from “fruit-phobia”?

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    Comedian Ricky Gervais recently tweeted something like this (he took the post down quickly after publishing it, so this is totally hearsay): “If someone criticizes you, just think of a word about yourself that the person might not like, put it in front of the word “phobia” and refer to them as that.”

    This could be used for wine tastes as well. Are you “oakphobic”? Do you suffer from “fruitphobia”?

    We are regularly baffled when we hear, often, “I don’t like wines with any oak.” We hear it from consumers, young writers, and sommeliers. It is what they are supposed to say if they know anything about wine, right? It is what they are supposed to say if they are cool, right?

    Yes, we know, so many wine producers have over done it with their oak programs. This was especially prevalent in the 1990s, and especially with “New World” wines. Thank goodness the Millennial generation decided that it does not want emulate gnawing on an oak table leg while drinking their Chardonnay. And thank goodness that these wine drinkers are paying more attention to where their wines come from, and that the vineyard has prevailed. We applause the modern wine movement for raising our awareness of new wines, new regions, and new methods of making the world of wine vastly more interesting today than it was yesterday.

    But somehow, a game of telephone on this message of restraint and balance has turned in to dogma. And dogma gets a lot of ink–it may even get acronyms like “ABC” for Anything But Chardonnay. Not-liking oak has become trendy.

    So before you turn up your nose at a Corton Charlemagne, please, please, taste it. And may the oakphobic words of “I don’t like anything with oak” never leave your mouth again. Wine offers a glorious amount of pleasure if one has an open mind and palate. Taste often, and drink up the diversity that is available to us, even if it means seeing someone about your “oakphobia.”