Me: What do you normally like to drink, even though I know you are going to say “Oaky Cab Sauvs”?
Me: We don’t have one of those. But try this (pouring a taste of Carneros Pinot Noir and a Valpolicella Ripasso). The first one has the style you want, but the second has the weight.
Me: Okay, try this. I normally don’t go in for Mendoza Malbec, but this one is really balanced. It won’t be oaky but it is stylistically and weight-wise the closest thing you’re going to get to what you normally like. And hey, why not try something new?
Me: Or let’s do something totally different but that you’ll love: a Montepulciano d’Abruzzo. It’s like cocoa-dusted raspberries and—
Me: There’s a lot of fruit to smell in wine when there isn’t a whole forest of oak to mask it.
Me: Yes! You’ve hit upon something that’s very controversial in the wine industry. It’s the effort on the part of winemakers to please Robert Parker and his peers, a bizarre oligarchy of mouths that only respond to oak, plum, coffee, chocolate, smoke, and—provided there’s enough of the stuff I just mentioned—tobacco. So any wine forcibly made to taste like these things get higher points and higher prices.