January 10, 2010

I Don't Speak Wine

I don't speak wine. I have, however, acquired quite an appreciation of certain wines. Problem is, I don't know if I appreciate a certain wine until after I've drunk it. The intricacies and nuances of wine selection are lost on me. Therefore—and I can't emphasize this enough—I cannot be in charge of choosing the wine. Listen, I've done intensive self-analysis on this and come to these conclusions: I'm cheap, indecisive, cowardly, and lazy—all of which springs from a quirky internal force that screams: "But what if they don't like me?"

At a restaurant, my wine appreciation can be summed up like this: "How much does this bottle of Malbec cost? Seriously? Hmmm. What have you got on tap?" Why would I spend my hard-earned pittance on a crapshoot? If I don't like it, I won't drink it, and I'll have no excuse for my behavior. Translation: Cheap.

People, I have loitered in the beer and wine aisle at the store, poring over wine labels with glazed eyes and a big question mark over my head for days in fear of choosing poorly like that greedy guy in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade who chose the pretty chalice. We all know how that one ended. Choosing from the shelf is like ordering takeout sushi in Nagasaki where the menu is all in scritchy-scratchy swishes. How do you know you're not getting slimy sea worms or poison puffers? My luck, I'll take home the wine that causes people to lurch and gag when the stuff cascades over their unsuspecting tongues. Translation: Indecisive.

In deference to that same logic, I have picked out the most expensive bottle, thinking surely this will be the tasty stuff; surely my guests will think I'm sophisticated; surely they'll think I know something. Recent evidence proves I don't know shit, and an outrageous rumor is spreading across the country: Winetard! Therefore, I can't be responsible for anybody's wine consumption when it may suck and anybody may want to hurt me. Translation: Cowardly.

Plus, if God wanted me to drink mashed, fermented grapes, he'd have installed pop-tops. What's with corks? Those beer guys got it going on. No need for pricey gadgets to pry out a floaty stopper that would rather be jammed in that little hole for eternity. No need to sniff and swirl and sip and spit—just chug. And no foo-foo pretentiousness—burping is totally allowed. So I'm boycotting corks. Translation: Lazy.

Cabernet sauvignon, merlot, burgundy, chardonnay, prosecco, malbec, yada yada. It's all Sanskrit to me—I don't speak wine. And at this rate, I will never catch a buzz.

53 comments:

Twenty Four At Heart said...

I haven't been able to open a wine bottle since my car accident. I'm totally dependent on having someone else pop the cork. (Sounds dirty, doesn't it?) However, I do have a few favorite wines .... I always seem to return to them. I guess I'm a winetard too.

Jason, as himself said...

Walmart has a GREAT cheap wine, especially for winetards.

I've experienced the same--an expensive bottle, and yuck.

A cheap bottle, and yum.

And vice versa.

But...you can never go wrong with La Creme charonnay or pinot noir.
On the pricey side. But so good.

Jason, as himself said...

But, you do speak whine. You're certainly not a whinetard and neither am I.

Irish Gumbo said...

My 5 year old daughter is exceptionally fluent in wine!

Wait, that's whine...which she is doing now.

So now I could use some wine...

Snappy Di said...

Winetard! Love the term... I am one also and don't give a hoot since I really can't drink wine anyway without an automatic raging headache following. Better just to leave it alone. BUT, I do like the sweet girly drinks and a few of the liqueurs YUMMO!

Expat From Hell said...

Always have two bottles handy around here: Charles Shaw (any variety) wines, known in my home state as Two Buck Chuck.

And a bottle of Equate 100mg aspirin.

A great use of $4, in my world.

EFH

only a movie said...

I'm a winetard too. Plus the sulfites make my socks too tight. Great post.

Alix said...

As least you know What Malbec is. I bow to you for that!

We should drain a bottle together sometime, Ms Liar.

Breathe said...

I like my wine sweet which supposedly makes me a winetard.

But wine hangovers suck, so I gave it up.

Peppermint schnapps. Who doesn't like peppermint schnapps. With a screw top. It don't get better than that, chica.

Where's your chapter, missy? Put down that bottle and GET BUSY.

Brian Miller said...

i keep it simple. years ago i found a few i like and i stick with it. i may be missing out on some good ones, but at least i am avoiding the bad ones!

Richard @ The Bewildered Brit said...

At its core, wine is pretty simple to "get". It's just that there's all this rubbish spoken about it, and all these high falutin' words. Ignore all that rubbish.

If you're interested, John Cleese did a *fantastic* tv show a while back called "Wine for the Confused". It's about 40 minutes long and you can watch it free on Hulu:
http://www.hulu.com/watch/79439/wine-for-the-confused

Honestly, that will tell you everything you ever need to know. Everything else is just silly.

And one other key thing: more expensive doesn't necessarily mean better. If you, check out the BevMo site, you'll see that they have e.g. a whole bunch of excellent Cabernet Sauvignons for under $10. I'm all about "cheap"!

phd in yogurtry said...

I drink very little wine. My wine selection goes like this:

1. red in color
2. cost (cheap)
3. pretty label
4. creative/sentimental name; i.e., Fat Bastard, say, or named after a family member

I've never done a wine tasting. Can't afford to drink the better wines, so why bother? And frankly, I'm just not that interested. Have had too many wine headaches so I just skip the wine and go straight for the vodka.

Hilary said...

In contrast to the comment above mine, I've learned to avoid the more attractive labels as the money went into making a good wine instead. As long as it's red and dry (or occasionally white and dry), I'm happy.

T said...

I just don't do red wines (make my teeth squeek, I swear!) and a dry red is my nightmare.

So I'm throwing my lot in with the winetards.

Secretia said...

I like wine, it's usually overpriced. The old fashioned red table wine, sold in gallon bottles, high alcohol content, that's good enough for me.

Secretia

Eva Gallant said...

I like the principato rosato at olive Garden--I'm sooo sophisticated!

BugginWord said...

But wine is the nectar of the gods!! Every drop is totally worth the wretched next day. If it doesn't come in a liter bottle, it's not worth your effort. The big gallons are even better. PS boxes don't have corks. SCORE.

Candice said...

The only wine I've ever enjoyed was Boones Farm. What exactly does that say about me?

otin said...

I don't speak wine either. People say, "What do you drink with fish?"

I say, "Sweet tea!" LOL

The only thing that I know about wine is that I like ones that are not dry and on the sweeter side.

Blasé said...

It all tastes like NyQuil, to me!

Jaime said...

i don't know anything about wine selection either. i pick based on the label or name. which is how i ended up with a variety of "fat bastard" and "menage a trois" bottles... not bad for under $10 a bottle.

Oh My Goddess said...

I just drink Prosecco.

I am low maintenance like that.

injaynesworld said...

I live in an area in California well known for its wine industry and am surrounded by vineyards and wineries, so I'm kind of into wines. However, some of the best reds I've tasted come from Spain and are extremely well-priced. As for white, you pretty much can't go wrong with any Pinot Grigio from Italy, also reasonably priced.

Winters Reaper said...

the fun is finding out what you like and dislike as long as it make take to do so...

years in some cases

Smart Mouth Broad said...

I am most definitely a winetard too. I used to prefer beer over wine but have recently become a wine lover. I still don't know anything about it = winetard for sure. I just know what I like. But then I forget the next time I go to the store.

Jazz said...

One of the many reasons I love Mr. Jazz, he knows good cheap wines. Oh, and he cooks.

Bella said...

I guess I'm a winetard too, and one doesn't have to spend major bucks on a good dinner wine. I love white and red but I don't like the sour yeasty icky aftertaste some leave me with! Nowadays its brandy or vodka when I feel the need to indulge!

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

I want to like wine; I could get totally involved in finding just the right ones and matching them with just the right foods....

BUT wine instantly makes my sinuses hurt and my nose turn red, and a few minutes after that the 24-hour headache begins. Drat!

rxBambi said...

I may in reality be a winetard (but I hope not). But really the important thing to remember is this:
a - drink what you like
b- as long as it's not pink
and
c- glen ellen sucks

that's it baby!

Beth said...

I really don't know much about wine but I found one a few months ago that I like called Goats Do Roam. I just buy it now.

In restaurants, when I want to act all wine smart, I make up smells and flavors that I *experience*. You know... like wet dog, regurgitated Cool Ranch Doritos, burned blanket... Nobody ever questions it.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher said...

I used to know a bit as I watiressed in anupscale restaurant with an electic wine menu. We were expected to read Wine Spectator for work and we had lots of wine tastings after work.

HOWEVER, it's been over 10 years so now I fall back on my favorites. I'd love to share a bottle with you one day Liar. What fun.

smiles4u said...

I am terrible at picking out wine but my husband does pretty darn good so I leave it up to him. If something were to happen to him I would really be screwed. :) I have found though that just because a wine is more expensive doesn't necessarily mean I will like it better. Many of my favorites are cheap. I now have my son drinking wine with me every once in awhile and he's normally a beer drinking guy. So he's been asking us all kinds of questions about wines. I've really enjoyed this. :)

♥ Braja said...

Me? A wine lovin' girl :) But hey you'll like this: on my last visit to Australia (South Australia, actually, very famous for their gold medal wines worldwide), I discovered the wine industry's collective revert to screw top bottles....the guy at the store told me that some international discovery had revealed that cork was crap and bad for the wine. So there you go: all the best expensive wines are now in SCREW TOPS YADA YOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!

And hey, the cheap stuff? Some of the best wine I've had was $5 Italian red....magnifico :)

Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

I'm going to echo Braja. I have been to a few wineries and did some wine tasting (which by the way is quite fun). You may want to try that because then, you can find one that you really like.

I am in love with the Australian wines. I like Yellow Tail, Little Penguin and Black Swan. My faves are pinot noir, cabernet sauvignon, grenache and merlot. I like red wines more than white wine but if you like sweet, then go for a riesling. The Australian wines are not expensive but definitely worth the bang.

Gillian said...

I speak fluent Wine. As long as its sweet, cheap and cold...

Jeanne said...

I just finished reading Sideways which left me wishing I were knowledgeable about wine. But I'm not, and sometimes you just have to accept your limitations.

mo.stoneskin said...

Winetard is a brilliant term.

I think I have been blessed with a lucky knack of picking great affordable wines. A gift, perhaps. Shall I choose yours for you next time?

powdergirl said...

You shouldn't have to worry your pretty little head about this.

We'll find you nice frugal sommelier and he can fetch your wine for you.

Oh, and I like em' all.

Brutalism said...

Winetard is fantastic.

I usually choose based on label. (Translation: shallow and easily distracted by pretty things.)

Violet said...

Whiskey. The answer is whiskey.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

I usually pick by how pretty the label might be. Then, it has to be under $9.99.

Christiejolu said...

Hello! Congrats on winning the caption contest!

I am not big on wine and I wouldn't know a good one from a bad one to be honest.

Herding Cats said...

I love wine, but I really am no expert. My favorite is going wine tasting and pretending I'm high class....and I'm not. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

NSGIRL said...

I am such a "winetard" (lol) as well! I just recently started to like wine and there are sooooo many to choose from. Luckily the staff at my local liquor store are very helpful as I stare blankly at all those bottles. They have helped me pick out a few that have been hits so far!

Nancy said...

You and I are in the same boat when it comes to wine. I know what I don't like when it hits my tongue, but I always foret the ones I really liked. Thus I buy what's less expensive or more expensive - if only I could remember to jot the name down...

bernthis said...

I don't drink so I'm one of those that picks the wine by price and the pretty label. Winetard, indeed.

Miz Dinah said...

Oh yeah. Totally get stressed when I have to pick a wine at a table of winoseurs (also sometimes winosaurs). I hate the whole sniffy-swirly-sippy thing. And smelling the cork is BS. Especially if it's synthetic! It's just to see if the cork is tainted, which you can often see just by looking. If it's rotty, the wine is bad. Duh. Just pour me a glass of the damn wine. It's not like I'm going to send it back! Another good reason to just drink at home (aside from the cost and the comfy place to pass out).

The Machinist's Wife said...

I love your winespeak. I, too, speak your winespeak, even though I work at a winery. Ha! AZIF! In lieu of (some) services I render there, the boss offers me bottles of wine. I've got my own mini wine cellar going on as I write. All this from a non-drinker (mostly). Of late, however, the Machinist and I are working our way through the bottles. They've all got that screw-your-face-up-and-grimace taste. To start with. After several sips, they flow a little easier, though. All this for research purposes, you understand.

Love your blog. Love your humour! xx

Captain Dumbass said...

What you're drinking is irrelevant, all that matters is that you like it. And corks are a pain in the ass. Thankfully most winemakers are turning to caps since they're cheaper and have zero effect on the taste, despite what the snobs tell you.

creative kerfuffle said...

i lord, i've tried and don't speak wine either. the hubs doesn't either and oddly enough we have an assload of wine in our house. why? because he thought it would be cool to have a wine rack and collect wine. how do we collect it? ah---labels. yes, we're quite the wine gurus here, we buy bottles we never drink based on the cool graphics/name on the label. talk about winetards!

Pat said...

By the looks of all your comments, you are NOT ALONE! I drink both red and white wines. I don't like them dry. A little on the sweet side for me!

Bano said...

Don't know if you can in your area, but wine tasting tours are a great way to sample wines and figure out what you do and don't like. Then you know what to buy and also what not to waste your money on. And price has nothing to do with it either. I have had some great wines at $7 a bottle and crappy wines at $20+. So you are not being cheap, just drinking what you like! :)

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