Monday, February 12

Not a great start

"We're having a party on Valentine's day," my housemate R told me with glee.

"Really?" I was surprised. I've only seen R drink one time this year, and that was at the Superbowl. Perhaps she liked it, because I could already tell that by "party" she didn't mean hair-braiding and toenail-painting.

"Yeah, we're all going to dress up and drink wine and be fabulous."

In the days that followed, I worried about this whole "wine" business. Unlike crappy vodka, which can be mixed with sweet juices and sodas, crappy wine is just unenjoyable. And expensive. And my knowledge of alcoholic beverages encompasses only mixed drinks. Wine is for grown-ups.

Last night, R brought me her wine handbook that describes different wines in terms of flavor, acidity, and all those other bells and whistles. After realizing I had no idea what "high acidity" would actually mean, R and I gave up. "You just need to drink more."

This, I could agree with.

Today, R and I went to the wine shop. Instead of guiding me through the store in a nurturing manner, R ran off to some corner of the shop while I gazed at the wall full of bottles. As I wandered to the back, one of the workers asked "Can I help you with anything?"

Reasoning that he could probably tell I was lost, I decided to tell him the truth. "Yes, actually. I don't know that much about wine."

"Well, are you looking for something to cook with, or to drink?"

"Drink" I said abruptly, then felt a little embarrassed. Did that make me sound like an alcoholic in the making?

"Well, what do you want?"

Wait, what? I just told you I don't know anything about wine and you're asking me what I like? "Um..."

"If you tell me something you like, I can give you suggestions."

What the hell? He didn't even start with the basic white/red, sweet/dry... How could I speak to this man? I gave up and just threw out the name of the last red wine I'd drank. "Pinot noir?"

He showed me a wall of pinots and walked away. Superb. The fact that they were all different brands meant nothing to me, except I guessed that, as with vodka, the cheapest one was the worst. I grabbed it anyway. I definitely should have pretended I knew something about wine, I decided as I snuck a glance at R, who was casually perusing the Merlots.

After letting her pick another bottle for me and grabbing two handles of vodka, I was at the checkout counter. "How old are you, miss?" Asked the kind-eyed woman behind the counter.

"Twenty-one, just turned actually!" I chirped.

"Can I see your ID?"

For once, this didn't sound like a threat. Unfortunately, I realized that I might have a smidge of a problem when I pulled out my expired license with a hole punched over my date of birth, and my temporary license... y'know, the one made out of paper.

"Honey, I can't see your date of birth on this one, and the other one could be from anywhere."

"But... I'm twenty one... I don't know what to tell you."

"Do you have a passport?" It was in my room. Lame... "I can't sell anything to you, we could get in big trouble for that."

The lady kindly let R pay for my drinks and we left. If I had manhood, it would be crushed. Instead, when I look at my precious bottles of wine, I can see them mocking me.


Dropout! said...

I warned you, man. You better get on that shit, otherwise... you know... cankles.

caramaena said...

Aww bummer - remember the good id next time.

Do you live anywhere near a wine area at all? I do (sort of) and they do all sorts of wine tasting tours and things - a good way to figure out what you do and don't like.

Wanderlusting said...

When I was 18 I went on a wine tour in Australia...

Before then I never liked wine, and after learning about it, I cultivated a taste.

Now I love wine, it's all I drink and I've considered taking some sommelier courses.

Seriously, once you learn more about it, it's a lot of fun to drink.

On the plus side, at least you are IDed...I've stopped getting carded and it's freaking me out.

ohmygodimmike said...

IT's cool that people ask "can I help you?" and then do nothing of the sort

The Ambiguous Blob said...

it's true that you need to drink more. The more you drink, the more chances you have to find something you like.
Good luck!

Strange Bird said...

Well, at least you picked a good one. ;) Although a bad Pinot Noir is pretty freaking disgusting. If you like sweet cocktails, try Gew├╝rtztraminer. It's a white wine, sweet, and very accessible to newbies. ;)

That is the thing about wine... it's not really that much fun until you know what you're drinking, and you have to drink to know what you're drinking (so it's not much fun at first). A vicious cylce, if you will. Next time you're on the west coast, try a wine tasting tour. You'll enjoy wine a lot more after that.

Cloud Watching said...

All I can say is that wine really grows on you and in time you'll love it. If you like a suggestion go with anything Portugese, Spanish or something from Chile.

The Very Reverend Ace Clemmons, Jr. said...

you need to do a tasting. thats the best way to find out what you like and what you dont without spending a ton of $$. i go to them frequently.

Whiskey too.

Bittersweet Confusion said...

I agree with all of the above... Drinking lets you get a taste for a wine you like... Also just because a wine has an "economical" price tag does not necessarily mean it's bad. Here is a list of the
best wines under $10.

Also here is a great recipe for Sangria. Not as simple as Vodka and Cranberry but it's good if you are looking for a mixed drinkesque substitute for wine...

Eileen Dover said...

Again, agree with wine tastings.

For me, drinking wine is also about food. Bring on the cheese and crackers, sit back, and enjoy the wine.

(I'm all about merlot. Keep the cab's away from me. Too strong for my immature palate. :cackle:)

Crazy Girl City said...

I would suggest buying a different bottle every time you hit up the store....and then trying it that way. Start with a white like riesling and then move your way up. Riesling is a good starter wine...and it's what I usually tell anyone that is just starting out with the vino.

Or just email me for rec's next time. I am a wine-o lush.

The Accidental Bitch said...

dropout - Cankles are not an option. Honestly, I forget where this "cankles" thing came from.

caramaena - Don't you have to pay for those? I'm poor.

wanderlusting - That, or people have become more lax? Anyway what's wrong with looking your age? :)

ohmygodimmike - SERIOUSLY. I forgot to make a bigger deal about that, but that was pretty disappointing.

the ambiguous blob - I'm the kind of girl who'll find something and stick with it. Not that I'm not adventurous, but...

strange bird - I'll be sure to give my review of the Pinot.

cloud watching - When I read the beginning of your comment, all I can think of is "All I can say is that wine really grows on trees." Which isn't true. But also isn't what you said... thanks for the tip!

the very - You want me to try whiskey? Maybe after I've mastered wine, but so far I greatly dislike it.

bittersweet confusion - Wow, thanks! I'll definitely take a look.

eileen dover - I'm going with mini quiches tomorrow. Which are basically baked cheese & crackers.

crazy girl city - Thanks! That's a great idea. I like Riesling, that much I do know. But yeah, thanks!

Dropout! said...

I made up the cankles thing out of nowhere. It has no significance in any way, except for its complete truth.