I don’t remember when I had my first sip of wine, but I do remember that it was not favorable. It was dry and tart. Not at all what I would expect from a respectable grape. But, as young men are so want to do, I persevered and continued to sample several varieties until I had a full understanding of the difference between them. Specifically, dry wines come with a cork and sweet wines have a twist off top. I also learned that wine, unlike beer, is better when aged, and preferably for longer then a couple of weeks. It seems that there is a direct correlation between age and price. The older the wine, the higher the price. Too bad we couldn’t adopt the same standards for people, but that is another story.
Today, I have developed a taste for wine, or have at least sampled (a term I use loosely) enough different types to know what I like. They have to meet specific criteria. First, they must cost less then ten dollars a bottle. They can also be purchased in larger quantities in a box. And finally, they must be readily available, i.e. Kroger or Walmart.
Wine is a rather refined drink. For instance, you never see it served with cheez whiz and crackers. And, unlike beer, it doesn’t make me burp and I don’t have to pee as much, two definite advantages. Further, a bottle of wine makes a nice gift, unlike a six pack of Bud Light. I gave my wife a bottle on our last anniversary. After all, I am the reason she drinks. Another advantage is it doesn’t take as long to chill as it does beer. You don’t want it ice cold. I mean, if you want to stick it in the freezer for just a little while before company comes, that’s OK. But don’t leave it in there too long because the alcohol content is not great enough to keep it from freezing and exploding. How do I know that you ask? Well, we won’t go there. Just trust me.
I attended a wine tasting once, but I wasn’t too impressed. They were talking about the nose and letting it breath. I couldn’t tell if mine was breathing or not, so I applied some mouth to mouth resuscitation. They were holding the glasses by the stem and swirling it around, smelling it, swishing it around in their mouth and finally swallowing it, while making comments about the bouquet and notes of cherry etc.
Needless to say, I felt a little out of place. I had no idea what they were talking about for the most part and, until my wife found me, I was the only one drinking out of a bottle. I began to wander around a little bit, listening to conversations in the hopes of learning something more. After a while, I thought I would try out some of my new found knowledge and joined a small group. To break the ice, I inquired of one man “what is that you are drinking”? He replied “It’s a Chateau Dominique Chablis, 1977. It possesses a slight floral bouquet and sits lightly on the palate. What do you have there?” Now, properly holding my glass by the stem, I swirled the liquid around, sniffed it, and held it up to the light. Then, in an authoritative voice said “judging strictly from the color, I’d say it’s a red.
Originally published September 2014