I’d love to get in on the Joni and the Isaac debates @Inbar @Bargainbob @Herbster - I’m a huge fan of both. Those Joni records take me back… But actually this music talk is off-topic, really, so here are my thoughts on @laura’s question.
If you remove all the obvious/immediate factors that lead you to a bottle of wine (time of day, day of week, location, food you’re about to eat, company), what have you got left outside of mood and setting? Not much.
So I really identify with this. My mood has always strongly been influenced by weather. In the autumn I like Rhône, for example, or anything with Syrah or Grenache or Mourvèdre; in autumn it has to be Pinot Noir all the way, and Barolo, and Rioja; in spring I start opening lighter wines like a Beaujolais Cru or a traditional Rioja; in summer I can’t wait to open the good rosés, Grüner Veltliner, Albariño, and continue with lighter reds… So the seasons are big drivers for me.
Throughout the year there’s never a reason not to drink varieties I love regardless of mood, like Chardonnay, which I love at any time, and Pinot Noir. I only drink claret at Christmas. I’m barely interested in claret and Bordeaux varieties, but I do like a good one in December.
In terms of mood, I’m not terribly introspective so I don’t think of mood as a trigger. But I do like to work out what wine I think will suit the company I’m expecting. If the people really like their wines, then I’ll do a mini-vertical of something, or a horizontal of a region they might not know. If they don’t know anything about wine, but are interested, I’ll get a Society Exhibition wine, in the hope that they’ll love it and will join. (Yep - I’m a shameless promoter). If they know nothing and are not interested… Actually I don’t know anybody like that.
I also tend to think about what to cook as a function of the wine, rather than the other way round. So if I’m in the mood for a Sauvignon Blanc, then I’ll want fish, for example. If I want a Burgundy I might want a roast. If I’m dying for a buttery, oaky Chardonnay I might want cheese or a roast chicken. If it’s sunny and I want a really good Grenache-based rosé, I’ll get olives or almonds out - something salty.
Finally, I cannot separate a lot of wine from memories. Most wine types, and in a number of cases, specific wines, have associations for me. Rioja takes me back to my earliest wine experiences, wines from Galicia make me think of the many Galician seafood feasts I’ve had, Australian wines make me think of the vineyards I’ve seen there, Priorat is my go-to patriotic wine region for all things relating to Catalonia, rosés remind me of brilliant summers of days gone by and fill me with hope of summers to come, while very specific wines make me think of people I love and make me smile.