The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2018

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4  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2018 My parents took me to Burgundy when I was 11 years old. While my classmates were playing baseball and swimming that sum- mer, I was tasting wine with my father in damp Côte de Beaune cellars. Admittedly, this was a rather unorthodox introduction to wine, but it prepared me for a lifetime of balanced enjoyment. At home, there was wine on the table every night at dinner. If I wanted to taste it, I could. As I grew up, the fact that I was exposed to wine throughout my formative years brought me to the cusp of young adulthood as someone who never had to sneak alcohol. In college I was elected social chairman of my fraternity and was put in charge of purchasing beer, wine, and spirits. And while my compatriots had a definite tendency to overindulge, I was the picture of measured sobriety (most of the time). And here I am, the editor-in-chief of a magazine focused on wine and spirits. The point of this exposition is not to brag: I want to illustrate the fact that a sensible and deliberate approach to alcohol by parents and caregivers typically creates an adult with a mature, measured attitude toward drinking. Forbidding young people to touch alcohol until they reach the age of 21 is counterproductive and just plain stupid. If an 18 year old is old enough to vote and die for their country, then this young adult is certainly capable of handling alcohol. Louisiana State Senator Eric LaFleur recently introduced a new bill that would allow 19 and 20 year olds in the state to purchase and consume alcohol if they receive certifica- tion and parental consent. According to his press office, LaFleur believes that because drinking is off limits to them, teens are more likely to consume alcohol irresponsibly. LaFleur says lowering the permissable age will help remove the allure for minors while potentially lowering incidents of binge drinking on college campuses that sometimes turn deadly. This is a start. The brutally restrictive prohibition against alcohol for people under the age of 21 should be abolished. Even 18 is an arbitrary age, but it's preferable to 21. The editors of The Tasting Panel are unanimous on this issue. Kudos to Senator LaFleur. Maybe that's why they named a Bordeaux château after him. When to Drink? LETTER FROM THE PUBLISHER PHOTO: JEREMY BALL

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