Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Search is Over

I am a girl who likes red wine. It has not always been the case. It took quite a long road to get to the place where I can consider that glass of "wonderful color and round rich palate" a friend not foe. I believe it all started when I was 19.

About a hundred years ago, in a faraway place called Florida the drinking age was 19. WooHoo! I was going to be 19...just 12 months...seemed like the longest 12 months ever. And please don't think for a second that I hadn't had an adult beverage before. Who hadn't gone to their parents coveted liquor cabinet and taken a little rum, and a little Jack, and a little gin and a little of this other clear liquid and put it all in a little bottle to be hidden away til the big football game on Friday, only to find that the girls who shared it with me only did so because they had already exhausted their own parents' cabinets? But I digress. Being the pretty much almost always goody goody two shoes (aside from the above mentioned transgression), and being a "rule follower" I was excited that I was about to be legally allowed to do something that up until this point I was not. December finally rolls around and at last, it is my birthday! I am 19. I am legal. Three days later, on January 1st, they changed the law and the legal drinking age went up to 21. Don't panic, I was "grandfathered" in. Phew!

I was working in a restaurant at the time but could only hostess up until this point because of that whole "age" thing, whatever! Now I was going to get my chance to waitress and make some real money. First requirement was to know the menu, inside and out, forward and backward. I would need to know the proper answer when some hungry Joe Schmoe and Mrs. Schmoe came and asked how is that Hawaian Chicken made? "Well, thank you for asking. That would be a chicken breast marinated for no shorter than 2 days in a slightly sweet teriyaki sauce, grilled to perfection placed lovingly on a bed of rice pilaf and topped with a grilled slice of pineapple. It comes with the salad bar and bread" and then I would make my subconscious yummy sound and smile as if that would be the convincing element should my lovely description of this $8.99 entree not be enough. Again, I digress. Let's just say, I had to know all about the meals and of course, the wines that would accompany them.

A Saturday morning meeting is called for an official "Wine Tasting". The restaurants Manager thought what better way to educate that have a professional come in and give us first hand knowledge. Sounds great! I'd go to this class then get cleaned up and go to my bestfriend's rehearsal dinner that night. What a nice day this would turn out to be.

I get to the restaurant with all the other waitstaff, most of whom have been on their feet carrying trays to hungry people for at least 19 years and probably knew all that they wanted to know about this wine or that, and would have rather been home sleeping in or taking care of grown up things on their morning off. I bop in all bright eyed and bushy tailed ready to learn. Maybe it was the bopping, or perhaps it was my youthful exuberance that set these otherwise nice people off. Who knows? For whatever the reason, my fellow wait-staffers watched me as I tasted each and every one of the 12 wines going from a dry table red all the way to a dessert wine and then SWALLOWED each sample. It seems that "wine tasting" is just that, you taste, you smell it, you swirl it, you roll it around in your mouth and across your tongue and then you spit it out. I did not get that memo. So here I am drinking all these different wines and to make matters worse it was on an empty stomach because as I said before I had that rehearsal dinner later that evening so I was watching my calories early in the day.

Can you say STUPID? I was stupid. My elders were stupid. Management was stupid. They let me out of there to get in my car and try to drive home. I say try to because all I remember is getting terribly sick and passing out in an Albertson's parking lot. Luckily, my ex-boyfriend's mom was shopping and took pity on my poor sorry soul. I know that on the inside she was saying "Ah Ha! I knew this girl was trouble!" but on the outside she was very gracious, at least that's how I remember it. She somehow got me to my mother's house safe and sound. (Thank you Joan.) Suffice it to say that after being thrown into a shower of hot, cold, hot, cold and throwing up a lot of icky stuff I did not die, I only wished I had.

Being the good friend that I was I still made it to my bff's rehearsal dinner, which was held in a smoky Elk's Club lounge with a live band playing just a few feet away, although I was still quite green around the gills. This had to be penance. No more bopping for me.

Eventually, I felt better however I could not go near all. In fact, I even stopped whining..ok, so maybe that's a little much....

So time went by with me drinking girlie Foo Foo drinks and boy Beer which were ok but they never quite appealed to me. There seemed to be something so classy, so romantic, so mature about drinking a glass of wine. Dare I try again? I tried White Zinfandel, it was alright but so light and still kind of silly, it seemed only one step up from Boone's Farm Strawberry wine. I tried Chardonnays, Pinot Grigio's and Reislings but I'm sorry...YUCK! Just couldn't wrap my tastebuds around the "crisp dry essence of pear, vanilla and cedar chips that lend to it's complex taste" or the too sweet Reislings. Still I pushed on until at last one day I won a raffle at my childrens' school where the prize included a bottle of Rosemount Shiraz, out of Australia. Hesitant to try, anticipating the all too familiar headache that often accompanied that glass of red, I poured my first glass of red wine. I looked at it. I swirled it. I sniffed it. Finally, I sipped it. And it was good. So I had another sip, and then another. "Richly textured with well defined, ripe blackberry flavors, soft generous tannins on the mid-palate and a long, rich finish" the label had read and although I am no expert I can say it was defnitely pleasing to my palate.

Waiting for the headache that never came, I realized that this was it! At last, I'd found my glass of wine.

Just a side note now, I am not nor have I ever been affiliated with any of the mentioned wines/wineries and it is with a clear conscience I offer up my recommendations. Please remember, I am one of those consumers who totally buy off of the look of the label and the description provided. The following are some of my favorites. Let me know what you think.

Jam Jar Shiraz - With tastes of fruit, berry, bottling, spices, fun, herbaceous, raspberry, bramble fruits. Read more:

Bohemian Highway - Spicy, blackberries, smooth, red, fruity, licorice. Read more:

Barefoot Wines (Any and All) - I find this label to be fun, fresh, cheerful and easy to go with almost everything. Considering I don't like whites as a rule, Barefoots Chardonnay is delicious, light and easy to drink and the Moscato is refreshing and sweet. Read more: spicy, nose, blackberries, color descriptors, smooth, red, fruity, licorice Read more: http://www/barefootwine. com


  1. Go to Trader Joes and try the Black Mountain Fat Cat Cabernet...just like eating fresh blackberries. Really, it's great and my "go to", everyday wine. Or conversely, if you are who I think you are, just come on over!i

  2. I would love come and imbibe with you my friend. Just let me know when and where and what can I bring?