Thursday, November 20, 2008

Confessions of a Wino

How did your wine journey begin? Mine started in college with a fruity, fizzy, wine "cooler" that actually had no wine in it at all. But I thought I was cool.

I then graduated to a Blue Nun Riesling. (That makes me wince and grit my teeth just thinking about it.) I tried to impress a boy in my class by telling him my favorite wine was a "Riesling." Yeah. He was a wine rep. Not cool. But what did my young inexperienced pallet know?

What happened next I'm ashamed to admit. Boxed wine at camp-outs and pink wines that came in a jug. Wooooow. It's about that time that winemakers started jazzing up their labels with catchy names and graphics. Then I started picking my wine based on whether or not I liked the picture on the bottle. A label snob in all the wrong ways. I became a fan of Yellow Tail and had to try one of each "color." From the yellow label, to the blue label, to the hot pink label ... I drank them all. But at least it introduced me to reds.

One wine I picked up entirely because I liked the label was a bottle of Tango Malbec. The label lured me in with a hologram where the dancers feet moved when the bottle was rolled from side to side. Malbec. Boy, oh, boy, did I think I was pretty smart because NOW I could order something that wasn't a usual choice on most house wine lists. But at this point wine was becoming more than just a way to get a buzz with my friends on a Friday night, it was becoming a pleasurable experience of discovery.

I finally learned the only real rule about wine ... you either like it ... or you don't like it ... and either way, it's okay. I'm currently at a great place in my wine tasting journey. I'm not afraid of tasting something new. I can openly admit when I don't know about a certain wine ... and yet I know just enough to be dangerous. But I have to admit, I still do feel silly sticking my nose in a glass of wine and snorting a big whiff the way the "experts" do.

Which brings me to the monthly wine tastings at the Adora Inn. Their wine-pairing dinners have given me plenty of tasting practice to get me out of my old bad habits. Luckily, they're our neighbors, so I can taste all I want and then walk home.

This past month's wine tasting featured Dutch Henry, a small family owned vineyard winery in California. We were fortunate enough to have one of the wine makers from Dutch Henry sitting at our table. He was quite the entertainer, not only through his knowledge of wine, but through music as well. He talked about the same evolution of "cool" of wine drinkers. I guess we've all experienced that journey at one point or another.

The first wine poured was a Rose. Hmm. I had flashbacks to the pink wine in a jug that I used to drink and wrinkled my nose at the thought. However, I trusted the pairing expertise of my neighbors and since the wine maker was actually sitting right there in front of me, I gave it a whirl and was sweetly surprised! Well I'll be darn, I discovered I like Rose. And it was not a fruity little light wine like I expected. It stood well on it's own and was even better when paired with the first course of Arthur's savory pumpkin soup. I could go into great detail about how deliciousness of the food and wine ... but then you'd just get drool and get saliva all over your keyboard. So, to spare you the clean up I'll just invite you to attend the next wine tasting dinner at Adora Inn. Where are you in your wine tasting journey? Tantalize your senses with a traditional Italian-style Christmas including wines perfectly paired at the Adora Inn's next wine tasting on December 13th.


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