Going back a good few years I used to play snooker with a mate in a smoke filled cafe in downtown Brussels. We would rock up after work and play a few frames with several nice Belgian beers, of which our favourite at the time was Duvel, a masterpiece of brewing that is incredibly dry and an impressive 8.5% proof. Anyway, there was a waiter there who was also an excellent player and one night, frustrated by our poor play, we asked him if he had any words of advice to improve our snooker. He shook his head and said: “don’t drink Duvel”
We didn’t take his advice of course – without the soothing liquid I could never have borne the outrageous fortune and underhand tactics of my competitor, but years later I can see that that anonymous guru was onto something. There are several clues. First, there are recent incidents when at the end of a long night I just don’t have sufficient recollection to write a report worth the name. Second, when I look back at some tasting notes I have written I sometimes wonder “what was I on when I wrote this?” (the answer, generally, is about 8-10 units). In fact, on the many occasions I was fortunate to have had great nights dining with great friends and lovely wines (this in particular, but you can see evidence of another here), I can’t honestly remember the details of the wines involved with any precision.
On the other hand, when asked to name my favourite wines of 2015 it was really noticeable to me that the wines that stood out most in the memory (aside from the stellar sherries on here) were generally wines I tasted in either a formal setting in which I even used a spittoon (or, appropriately enough, around the snooker table).
I suppose it is a paradox of wine blogging – the more you enjoy your wine the more your ability to appreciate it, or at least to remember what you thought of it, diminishes.