Friday, September 02, 2011


Like most working class Americans, I don't know jack-shit about wine. I grew up drinking water and tea, coffee and beer. Wine wasn't something that was ever on the menu. It never showed up in our home when I was a kid, and it never occurred to me as a young adult to ever buy it or seek to so much as try it in a restaurant.

It was something for the upper classes and for Europeans. I knew that it existed, and that was sufficient for me.

I don't think I so much as tasted a sip of wine until I was well into my 20s. I was not impressed. I can't recall the type of wine I tried, but it must have been something exceptionally dry, because I not only wondered what all the fuss had been about, but pretty much decided then and there to stick to beer. Yeah, it was that bad.

However, as the years progressed and the markets for wine here in the USA expanded, I kept finding myself exposed to the stuff at parties, family gatherings, dinners, meets, what-have-you. I started to try it out. In a few cases I liked what was offered to me, and in a few other cases I ended up drinking so much of it that I finished the evening by puking.

Everything in moderation, they say.

Over the past five years or so my wife and I began to try buying different wines, to see if there were any out there that we liked. What we both realized after a while is that neither of us like dry wines. No Pinot Noir for us, no Grigio. I can't handle that shit. I will grudgingly acknowledge that such stuff is an acquired taste and that there may even be an art to appreciating a good wine. I doubt I'll ever hit the point of being able to develop my palate in that respect.

What we have decided is that we like sweet wines. I'm not talking about shit watered down with sugars and fruit juice, but genuine sweet wines. We've discovered some Japanese wines that we like and various Moscato flavors, and even some local wines made from native grapes.

In addition, occasionally I'll buy one of the wines for which I've never been able to develop a taste. I keep chipping away at my dislike of them, to see if I can figure out why so many of my friends do like them. There must be something there that I'm missing, or something there that I haven't quite figured out how to to detect and enjoy. Even when I find that I can't drink it, the stuff doesn't go to waste because I have so many friends who do enjoy it and I can always donate the barely consumed bottles to those who know how to drink it.

Until then, I continue to learn, and continue to seek out and discover some types of wine that I like.

All suggestions will be considered.


MarkGelbart said...

My favorite wine is a $6 bottle of Burgundy. You might not like it because it's a dry wine. It's a peasant style wine and I like to drink it with a stodgy peasant stew. The stew is based on a country European recipe and has wholewheat bread, potatoes, chicken broth, duck fat, carrots, leeks, onions, garlic, smoked pork sausage, chicken breasts with bone, lima beans, paprika, and marjaram. The wine adds acidity and elegance.

I'm more of a beer drinker though. That's the reason I retired from drinking liquor. I don't know how to drink wine or liquor and end up guzzling those beverages like beer which can sometimes be a mistake.

HemlockMan said...

Sounds like a good stew!

I've tried Burgundy. As I said...I think that would be something I could develop a taste for over time.