Setting aside the surplus of uppish “authorities” on wine, who use their knowledge to cloak it in an exclusionary and intimidating mystery, wine, in and of itself, is a complex and mysterious substance. It is no small matter that Robert Louis Stevenson was inspired to the comparison : “Wine is bottled poetry.” For, like poetry, wine is concentrated expression. Within its dark reaches we may encounter any number of mercurial impressions, odors transporting us back in time, elements of surprise, and sensory revelations. A wine, like a poem, is never exactly the same wine twice. Not only is each person’s experience contingent upon his or her individual mood, memory, and sense of smell, but a wine, too, as a living, changing substance, is also subject to varying characteristics within a given period of time.