The wine is the Sassicaia 1985, a cabernet sauvignon from Tuscany.  The Sassicaia is one of Italy’s finest Bordeaux inspired wines and a favourite of my wife and mine.  The 1985 vintage is universally heralded as a great wine and arguably an important turning point in the modernisation of Italian winemaking.  This is a wine I have been keen to taste and never really considered it likely that I ever would.  Fortunately, I have some generous friends (which people who have a passion for wine often tend to accumulate via the shared interest and sharing of bottles), and on this occasion one of them offered this wine for our group to drink.  My expectations were torn.  On one hand, I have read the reviews and know of its reputation.  On the other hand I know that few wines of such lofty reputations (and associated price-tags) can possibly live up to them.  It’s just fermented grape-juice, right?

Expectations can prime us for what is to come.  When our expectations are high and the experience delivers (whether we are talking about wine or just about any other experience in life), then we may be primed to get even more out of the experience than if we had no or moderate expectations going into it.  The high expectations focus us.  The opposite can of course be true.  An experience that fails to rise to our expectations can leave us disappointed; more-so than if we had no or moderate expectations.  Thus, an expensive and highly rated bottle of wine can often lead to either a) a great drinking experience or b) a massive letdown (and lamenting and wondering why we spend money on such things).

So the wine?  Superb!  Met expectations and a real pleasure to drink.  And I would say that my high expectations helped focus my attention on the wine; helped me discover lots of nuances and complexities in the wine that I might have missed if I had not known of its lofty reputation.  I was primed for it, and it delivered.

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