Monday, March 9, 2009

red or white?

wine tasting is for snobs.

that's what i used to think, until not too long ago, when i was introduced to the basics of wine. simply, being able to identify what you like and then buy what you want instead of some over-priced bottle that you end up hating.

so although very much a novice, i can appreciate that there's more to wine tasting than sitting with some old fuddy-duddys (someone wearing a monacle, another checking his pocket watch, etc.) discussing the significance of the plot of soil a particular grape is grown in.

granted, i usually am one for the details, and the details of wine making can be somewhat interesting in small doses. but details can also make the process feel a little overwhelming for a beginner. so instead, i choose to learn 'how' to taste.

first there's the whole clean palette part, then there's the progression from light to dark, there's also the swirl-n-sniff (technical term), followed by the swooshing of the wine in your mouth like you're rinsing with listerene, to coat every bit of surface with the flavor and texture of the wine. and then this is where it gets tricky, the spitting part.

now, i can understand if your job as a purchaser for a major wine retailer (or something else of the sort) requires you to taste 300 wines in one afternoon, you have to spit, i get it. but if you're just out for a casual wine tasting with some friends, i don't feel obligated to spit. one very convincing reason being that i am almost positive i would either a) miss the intended target for the spit, b) knock over the spit-containing vessel at some point during the tasting, most likely onto someone other than myself, or c) accidentally look at the spit and be completely unable to continue tasting.

so taking all of these factors into consideration, in addition to the fact that a simple tasting in most places is either free or very affordable, i have a new opinion about wine tasting: it's a great way to get drunk and learn a little before you get drunk, helping to validate the whole experience.

i mention all of this mostly because of a recent wine tasting afternoon i just enjoyed with my husband and some friends. we got to tour a couple of wineries, ranging from cutting edge to the oldest vineyard in america. we all learned, drank, discussed, and then reverted to more childish forms of entertainment. but at the end of the day, it really was what we made of it, not the stuffy, formal ordeal we each may have imagined it might be.

so run, kiddies, run to your local winery. drink, chat, (learn a little if you want) and buy a bottle of wine to support your local winemaker.


Kristine said...

Stoutridge alone has made me a wine snob. I'm all, "!ait, this has SULFITES?! Ugh. Don't you antioxidize the NATURAL way?"

Lana said...

i saw that too, and i wasn't sure if i was reading the label correctly or still drunk.