The wine nerd in his native environment (not to be confused with a wine snob, which is different)
What is taste? Is it the sum of our neurological responses to environmental stimuli, or is it more significantly focused through the lens of cultural, experiential, and intellectual context than we are sometimes willing to admit? In other words, do things taste good, or do we simply decide to enjoy them?
The reason I ask is: I don’t really like the taste of alcohol. Yet I like tasting it.
This is the inherent paradox that shapes my perspective on the world of alcohol, a world on which I have suddenly and unexpectedly found my attentions focused. I do not enjoy alcohol under the most common and direct definitions — I don’t really like the way it tastes, I don’t particularly enjoy the experience of being drunk, nor do I seek such experiences out — and yet I enjoy alcohol very much by a wholly different set of standards: the experience of tasting different alcohols for comparison and understanding, exploring the history and context of different types of alcohol, and the social and aesthetic circumstances in which alcohol is enjoyed by others.
So do I actually like it, or am I just fooling myself?
Well, the real question is: are we all just fooling ourselves?