Hope you’ve been well. Been a couple of weeks since my last post due to a bit of travel but I’m back with a good one this week.
I’m going to weigh in with an important theme for today’s discussion, and one of the reasons why LTLT was started – A topic dear to my heart: The Step Up.
Many an aspirational drinker has stumbled listlessly through the devoid-of-human-life isles of a supermarket booze barn’s ‘fine wine section’ in search of something a little nicer than they usually drink. Or maybe they sought help in a more competent establishment but ran screaming from the doors when confronted with a snobby sales person who was totally bereft of communication skills. Worse still, maybe they threw caution to the wind and spent that extra $10-20 (or more) on a nicer bottle, open it up expecting the world and being confronted with the acrid wisp of disappointment.
Either way, the outcome is the same. Fear. Fear of repeating the experience. “just the usual thanks mate”. The vow is cast – Why ‘waste’ the extra money on the unknown (and risk disappointment) when you can drink perfectly well for less money.
And you can, no doubt. Regular readers, or customers of LTLT, will know that I certainly espouse the virtues of the bargain. And not that terrible term ‘quaffers’; wine with flavour that I actually want to taste – at any price! But part of expanding your horizons is being able to occasionally move a step or two up the price rung to find out what’s further up the ladder.
‘The step up” is the term I give to trying something that sits a little above where you usually drink. If you’re a $20 regular, give something a nudge at $30-35. If you’ve taken a few steps at $35, try one at $50 – but make sure that you’re always balancing it with an expanded range of cheapies too so the net impact on your budget is softened. Done carefully, you can dip-the-toe in some new styles and start to understand where the value is, all for the cost of a couple of pints at the pub after work.
And when you frame it like that, it shouldn’t be too daunting. Nor should it be saved endlessly for that perfect, special occasion; you’ll learn far more by cracking a decent bottle on a Sunday night with a great home cooked meal than you will by expecting rapturous delights to leap from the glass after saving it for the perfect occasion – I’ve heard countless stories of people who went large on a bottle, hyping it up before cracking it and being thoroughly underwhelmed. It is, after all, only wine.
Most importantly, adding the step-up to your drinking repertoire doesn’t render you unable to enjoy cheaper wine – if anything it teaches you to appreciate the true bargains of the wine world ; it works both ways.
Done well, the step-up is immensely rewarding and will help unlock a world of wine that you may have never considered before. I relish every step I take, and formed LTLT (in part) to help guide others on their own journey – so next time you’re looking to stock your house up, send me an email and consider including a step-up in the mix to take your first steps to greater wine knowledge.