The beauty of doubt

Standing in line to purchase some wines, I was asked if I’d ever met a wine I didn’t like.

My immediate response was ‘No!’ However, when I thought about it, I did doubt the goodness of some wines and for a variety of reasons.

The reasons to doubt a wine’s worthiness included preconceived notions about a wine, where it originated, the price of the wine, the brand of the wine and what someone else had said about it.

Of course, we all have our doubts about an unknown wine but usually one of two things happen when we taste it. Either we are in sync with it or we aren’t — meaning we like it or we don’t. Does that mean we shouldn’t doubt an untasted wine?

I don’t think so and doubt should always be part of our journey with a new wine. Why? Because doubt drives many of us to try something new. To go beyond the “normal” and jump into untested waters. That’s the beauty of doubt.

When was the last time you doubted something new? If you’re like most of us, it wasn’t too long ago and I expect you learned something about yourself from that doubting experience. So, if we can learn something through doubt, why does doubt have such a negative connotation?

It’s because we’ve heard it multiple times and in multiple ways. “I doubt you’ll like that car.” I seriously doubt you’ll like that salad with crab in it.” “Are you kidding me? I doubt you’ll get a date with her/him!” “Why do want to go to college? You’ll spend a lot of money and I doubt you’ll get much in return.” Why so much doubt?

Maybe we humans need doubt to measure happiness or satisfaction. Maybe we just need to doubt even if we see nothing but negativity in it. However, there’s this…

I had purchased a bottle of Gallo Chardonnay at a fundraiser and felt safe in doing so. I’d had a few glasses of the nice creamy- tasting wine and expected the same from this bottle. However, after taking the packaging off of it, I had some doubts.

The color of the wine was off. It was too yellow. Upon pulling the cork, I was greeted with an aroma one doesn’t want from a wine — kerosene. I took a small sip and, sure enough, the wine was corked. Too much oxygen had gotten into it and ruined it. My doubts were substantiated but at least my money went for a good cause.

Recently I visited Painted Prairie Vineyard near Currie and was excited to see the new event building and the beautiful vineyard setting. Naturally, after a bit of a walk and talk, some tasting had to be done and one of the wines tasted was their Frontenac Gris — a nice dry white wine.

Based on previous experiences with other similar wines, I doubted this would be a favorite of mine. We sampled six wines and, lo and behold, the Frontenac Gris was one of my favorites from that sampling. It has a very nice subtle pineapple taste, a mild citrus body and finishes extremely clean.

My preconceived doubt led me to the beauty of this wine and I heartily recommend it to anyone.

Doubt has the ability to stimulate us and at a meeting to discuss an upcoming summer event, I was consumed by doubt. People were not able to assist in the planning, the organizing and the implementation of the event. I had my doubts about the event happening. Then, I talked with some very positive people who had no doubts.

Where my negativity created doubt, their positivity created possibilities and we were soon on track with putting the event together in a little different fashion. In this instance, doubt let us think of new ways of accomplishing something.

A while ago I visited Falconer Vineyards near Red Wing and sampled some of their wines.

They have interesting wines and I was doubting if there would be a new taste with them and then their Prairie Star was poured for me.

The vineyard sources almost one third of their grapes from the Finger Lakes region of New York and as the Prairie Star was poured, it called to me. It had a very faint citrus aroma, the taste was softly grapefruit and the finish was extremely dry and refreshing. I really enjoyed it and brought a bottle home.

When will I learn to stop doubting? I hope never.

Despite our doubts, if we’re open enough to attempt something new or different, we’ll be better off for it. Your experience may fall either into the good or the bad category but you’ll have learned something and that’s not bad.

Where did this thought about the beauty of doubt emerge? In a conversation with a new friend and I plan to continue the conversation — there’s no doubt about that!

Next week, it’s getting boring.

As always, eat and drink in moderation but laugh with reckless abandon!