Monday, September 30, 2013

Get Out There To Expand Your Knowledge!

I'm going to format this post a little differently by telling you a story.

The other day, on my lunch hour, I popped into a little wine shop near my work. I was looking to buy a bottle of wine to go with my dinner for that night and, as someone who loves absolutely everything about wine--its body, its texture, its juiciness, its color, its fragrance, et cetera, et cetera--I decided to strike up a conversation with the store's wine buyer to see if he could recommend a bottle to me. I told him what I was looking for (sort of) as well as certain flavor profiles I didn't care for (oaky Chardonnays?  NO THANKS!). In addition to receiving his own personal recommendations, I also came away with so much knowledge. I drank it up--no pun intended! 

I learned about Tokaj, a Hungarian wine that is orange in color. I learned that it cannot be called "Tokaj" here in the United States due to Hungarian licensing laws but can be called "Jakot," the backwards spelling of "Tokaj." Flavor-wise, it's a little nutty, with subtle undertones of spices like cumin and coriander and is very dry with a short finish. 

I also learned about this type of sherry, Menzanilla, made only in Spain. The way this sherry is made is different from others in that there is a "flor," which is kind of like a fungus, that sits atop the sherry in the oaken barrels and eats the yeast. It's aged for a year and then bottled. There is also "Fino" sherry, which is created in the same way as the Menzanilla. The only difference is the region in which the two sherries are made. One is closer to the water, which results in a much more humid inward wind and the other, farther from the water, resulting in a drier wind.  These climate factors affect the final taste of the sherry.  What is that taste? Well, while discernibly "sherry," the Menzanilla tastes nothing like Harvey's Bristol Cream. It's dry and crisp and has just a complex flavor, much like a wine!  

I entered the shop wanting just a single bottle of wine and came away with that, a bottle of pretty darned good sherry, and newly acquired knowledge!

So why am I dedicating the better part of this post to writing about wine and sherry? It's because I'm so passionate about wine.  I learn what I can from drinking it but that can only teach me so much. There's a much larger world of knowledge out there just waiting for me! I need only ask the right people--and the same goes for you and inquiring into your passions!!

Yes, you can read Wikipedia or Google permutations of various search terms relating to your interests but I invite you to get out there! Do a little research (okay, you can use gGoogle for that) and see whom you might be able to go and talk to about what it is you're passionate! It doesn't even need to be a formal event. Maybe it's something as little as talking to the farmer at your local farmers market about different zucchini (your favorite vegetable) varietals, or maybe it's asking the guy who draws your blood how he came to have that job since you've always been interested in becoming a medical assistant. Whatever your passion or interest, learn more about it by getting out there and connecting with other, like-minded individuals.

In conclusion, please let me know what your passions are.  What are YOU doing to get out there and expand your knowledge?  I can't wait to read your comments--they just might inspire others too!

With love, light and happiness,