I think wine is pretentious. THERE. I SAID IT.
To all my wine drinking homies out there, I apologize. I don't mean you. I mean everyone else. Please don't take offense. Remember that this is coming from a woman who drinks nothing but 1) water, 2) Diet Coke, and 3) coffee from Costco.
It's not that there is anything wrong with wine itself. I like wine, sometimes. Red wine. Mean wine that slaps you on the face and makes you call out for your momma. But I can get that from the sale section at the grocery store. What I'm saying is, if you offer me some wine, I'll say, "Sure!" If you ask me what kind, I'll say, "Red!" If you ask me what kind of red, then I'm out. I got nothing. And if you ask me what kind of grape I prefer or if I have a favorite vineyard, I may let out an unintentional fart of discomfort.
Let me tell you a little story. A few years ago I was visiting my much more sophisticated mother and older sister in North Carolina. We went out to dinner at a fancy steak house. We decided to get a bottle of wine, and when I was looking at the wine list I saw one that came from a vineyard near Seattle. So I said to the waitress, "Let's get that one!"
Now, here's where the unspoken rules and customs of society come into play of which Meredith is very rarely aware. Apparently, whoever orders the wine is then responsible for putting it through some kind of testing and approval process. This involves licking the cork and sniffing the underside of the bottle, I believe. At any rate, the waitress came over and showed me the bottle. And stood there. I looked at her. She looked at me. I looked at the bottle. I said, "Uh.......yes? Please?" She uncorked the wine, poured about a tablespoon into my glass, and then stood back, waiting.
Now, from my extensive viewing of James Bond films, I knew that there were a few things that I might be expected to do here. Was I supposed to smell it? Pick up the glass and swirl it around? Take a small sip and then spit it out with contempt? I had no clue what I was supposed to do or in what order. But I felt pretty sure that I was going to swirl it, sip it, spit it out, then smell it, and be asked to leave. So I said to the waitress, "Oh no -- I don't.......care. It's fine. Really." Let me tell you, that woman looked confused and borderline terrified. So my mom jumped in and sipped the wine, declared it "very good", and the waitress poured us all a glass.
I swear to god, people. That is an awful lot of pomp and circumstance just to get fancy drunk. And do people ever really send it back? I have never sent anything back in a restaurant. Ever. I once ate a steak that had a bite taken out of it because I didn't want to cause any trouble. So to even PRETEND that there was a possibility that I would send back a bottle of wine that someone had just opened for me after I ordered it? Let's not mess around here. I will drink that whole bottle if it kills me.
I did a little research on wine just to prove myself right (that's the only reason I ever bother with research), and found a little article at The Wine Doctor called "How to Taste Wine" that -- to me -- captures it all. By the way, I read all these wine URLs as being about twine -- so, imagine how excited I was when I saw www.crazyaboutwine.com......and then how very disappointed.
The Wine Doctor says, "there is a lot more to judging the quality of a wine than just tasting it." To which I say, "Oh for Christ's sake." He then gives three steps to tasting wine:
1. Inspecting the wine.
For crabs? Then I agree! Keep those crabs out of my glass, I always say. But no -- he wants you to inspect your wine for color, legs, and beads. Jeez.......are we auditioning showgirls, here? If I am inspecting something this closely before I drink it then I'd better be looking for roofies or pubes. Otherwise, down the hatch it goes!
2. Smelling the wine.
Ah! The smelling part. What am I supposed to get from that? Here's what the Wine Doctor says:
"Young wines will have primary aromas, relating to the grape variety. Such smells are often fruit related, and hence wines are described as smelling of blackcurrants, raspberries, and so on, or maybe simply as 'fruity'.
As wines age more secondary aromas develop, which may be more earthy or animalistic."
So, young wines smell "fruity", and old wines smell like an animal's underballs. Got it. So if someone opens up a bottle of wine and I start looking around for a dog, I'll know it's an older bottle. Look at me -- I'm a pro!
3. Tasting the wine.
Tasting the wine is step 3 in how to taste wine. Genius. And what I am looking for here?
"Pay attention to the way the wine changes as you hold it in the mouth."
Heh. Heh heh.
"The more length a wine has, the more time you have to enjoy it..."
Heh heh heh heh. Heh.
"Last of all, don't forget to spit."