Thursday, August 26, 2010


Maybe it's just me, but I really don't get wine tasting. Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE wine. I love everything about it. I adore the fact that it has been a popular beverage for aeons...I mean, really, aside from water, what other libation has that kind of historical staying power? Nada my friends, nada!

I love the bottles, with the amazing array of label designs and the shiney little tops. I even like the indentions on their cute little bottoms. I like the cardboard cases wine comes in, with their snappy little dividers and even more so, I love (and have a basement full of recycled) wooden wine boxes with all those special markings and codes and fancy words in foreign languages.

I could devote an entire page to the trials and tribulations of opening the bottles (which I have FINALLY mastered, thank you, after years of having to retreat back to the kitchen to stick the darned bottle between my knees in order to get enough leverage to get the cork out.....not a hit tableside just FYI) and tales of broken cork woe. I love wine glasses. Thick, squat glasses, impossibly delicate supermodelesque glasses, the short glasses they use at my tapas place.

I'm a sucker for ritual (clearly), of which the wine world is chock full. But when it comes to the actual drinking thereof, I guess I'm a bit of a abecedarian. You know, a dilettante, a bush leaguer.

I divide my wines into three categories; good enough, yummy and only lucky enough to be drinking this because someone else is paying. I procure most of my wine at Whole Foods simply because they have that nifty "Value" section where nothing costs more than $10(And, truth be known, I try to keep it below $5 because I just cannot justify the expense currently). I suspect I'd be a Trader Joe's devotee as well, only they're just not close enough for me to shop there regularly. Ironically, the wine at Whole Foods is cheaper than just about anything else they carry, so I have to hustle in there, with my blinders on, grab the bottle and try not to be swayed by those delicious Spanish almonds, or those sexy molten lava chocolate cakes on my way out.

I don't keep a wine journal, or a wine log. I'd like to pretend that I do, or believe that I would, but, honestly, I can't even keep track of my children at the moment, so I sure as hell can't keep track of which wine I liked best. And this is why spending a Saturday or a Sunday afternoon at a winery tasting wines I cannot afford and will never remember seems about as logical as reactivating my application with the foreign service. (Hmmmm, actually, the later is probably more likely)

Not to mention the fact that I'm a bit of a blood-alcohol-content lightweight and drinking in the afternoon wipes me out, and I don't have the luxury to be able to burn a day like that.

Point in case, Whole Foods (chez moi, at least) has this Fridays at Five thing they do to support local charities. For five dollars, you get to visit five food and wine "stations' around the store on a Friday night. This seemed a little pretentious to me, so I'd never bothered, but last Friday I happened to be in there (to pick up a $3.99 cabernet to go with dinner) and a girlfriend, whose charity was the benefitee of the event, strong armed me into ponying up a fin and giving it a go.

Well, not only was I full by the time I got through all of the stops, I was halfway to lit right up, too. Good GRIEF! Five different wines, including a Prosecco (I do love me some bubbles under the right circumstances), all of which were great, but four of them were not on the Value shelf and none of them can I even remember any longer, so short of catching a buzz and not having to cook dinner when I got home, it was wasted on me. (no pun intended)

Wine is at the top of my "Good and Good For Ya!" list of life's little necessities, but I guess I'm just a utilitarian wine drinker at heart. Like my edict to only purchase clothes from Goodwill and Salvation Army this year, I'm as close to drinking bargain basement wine as you can get. If they made recycled wine, I'd be first in line I suspect.

The area where I live is full of vineyards and wine tasting is big business here. I have friends who go "tasting" all the time, but it really just makes no sense to me. For the price of one, I can buy three, prop my feet up on the coffee table, get my son to operate the remote so that I can watch a movie and voila, I'm happy as a lark with my mason jar full of cabernet de something or other. Munching on almonds. (Sometimes the blinders work better than others.)

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