What Are Your Top-Tier Wines?

A few years ago, Benjamin R. Cohen and Daniel Ng circulated a list called “The Candy Hierarchy.”

It listed various candy bars and other packaged candy in order, from most prestigious to least prestigious.

Their “top tier” selections included Caramellos, Milky Way, Snickers, Rolo and Twix.

One notch below: Hershey’s Kisses, Peanut M&M’s, regular M&M’s, Junior Mints, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Three Musketeers, Hershey bars and the Reggie Jackson bar.

They also offered a second tier, a third tier and a bottom tier. In case you’re wondering, the bottom tier provided the longest list, and included such offerings as Dots, LemonHeads, Good N’ Plenty and “anything from Brach’s.”

So as you examine your kids’ haul from last night… or your leftover handouts… you now have some, uh, perspective about your neighbors and yourself.

Just as it did when I first saw it, a reexamination of “The Candy Hierarchy” got me thinking about my personal hierarchy of wines. Interestingly, each time I perform this mental exercise, my list changes.

At one time, the top tier would have consisted of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet blends, and big, buttery bottlings of Chardonnay.

This year, Cabernet blends would still be on the list, but they’d be joined by Sauvignon Blanc and assorted blends of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre – all picks that are very food-friendly, and particularly with lighter fare.

If you enjoy food-and-wine pairing, your wine choices of the moment likely will be a direct reflection of the type of food you’re eating. Ten years ago, I ate a lot of beef, so I drank a lot of Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, I eat a lot of fish, so I’m drinking a lot of Sauvignon Blanc.

Of course, our palates change over time as well. As we get older, our tastebuds become less precise in their work, so we’re more likely to evolve toward bigger, bolder wines with lots of flavor. That hasn’t happened to me yet, but I can see the day coming… and it’s not a bad thing.

I’m one of those people who believes that change is good, not to mention a whole lot more interesting than the same old same old.

How about you? In your wine hierarchy, which varieties make your top tier? Has the makeup of that top tier changed recently? If so, why?

I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps share your experiences with fellow wine lovers. Just drop me a line at [email protected], and be sure to include your full name and city/state/country of residence.

Posted in Editor's Journal
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