Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Drink With Your Nose and Live With Your Heart

You have been drinking wine incorrectly your entire life. Did you know that?

Sorry. I'm not trying to bum you out, but it's true. You've probably been drinking wine like this:

Look at you -- sitting there with your co-host, guzzling away. It doesn't even look like you're enjoying it. Also, it's 10 AM. Why are you drinking wine, Hoda?!

There is a secret to wine-drinking that we so often forget. The following image demonstrates it perfectly. 

Let's appreciate this woman for a moment. Yes, she does seem to be plotting the deaths of her out-of-focus friends in the background. It probably has something to do with the fact that she wasn't invited to their giggly toasting of glasses. But here is the thing we should take from this scene: when that blurry group in the background is done laughing and toasting to life, they will throw back that cabernet like it's nothing. And what will our crisp, sophisticated woman in the foreground be doing? She will not have moved or even blinked. She will just be sitting there with her head cocked and her eyes glazed, smelling her wine.

Because, people, drinking wine is primarily an aromatic experience. The scent informs the taste.

How do I know all of this? I recently went on not one, but TWO wine-tastings in a row, and now I'm pretty much an expert.

That's not technically true. I mean, I did go on these wine-tastings, but I guess I can't really call myself an expert. My knowledge of wine is similar to that of an eight-year-old's. Basically, all I know is that wine is made from fermented grapes, which I probably learned from the Bible and that episode of I Love Lucy where she stomps on grapes for a while and then makes this face before wrestling an italian lady:

But other than that, I lack the refinement and discernment to be a true wine connoisseur. 

I am, however, a superb wine-taster. I went on these tastings this last weekend during a trip to Charlottesville, Virginia for my sister-in-law's graduation from University of Virginia (Wahoo Wah!)

The tasters!
The first place we went was Blenheim Vineyards, an establishment owned by Dave Matthews of Dave Matthews Band. Unfortunately, Mr. Matthews was nowhere to be found, but if he had been, I bet he would have pointed to a glass of red wine and said, "Don't drink the water. There's blood in the water," and we all would have laughed and laughed. By the way, that's a lyric from one of his songs. I'm not a psychopath. 

Don't drink the water...
The scenery here was absolutely breathtaking, and the man who led us through our tasting was top notch. He told us when to swirl and sniff and why we were swirling and sniffing. He also told us which flavors to look out for in each wine (banana?!). At one point, he led us through a white wine challenge wherein we had to blindly guess which wine he had poured in our glass. In case you are wondering, I nailed it. 

We also went to Trump Winery which is owned by Donald Trump's son, Eric. If you watch Celebrity Apprentice, you'll note that he's the more bearable son. This place gave us a wider selection of wines, including some sparkling options (don't call it champagne or everyone will shoot you dirty looks).   

No, these are not moors of Scotland. This is Trump Winery. Good work, Eric.  

After it was all said and done, I was feeling pretty great, and not just because I'd had about ten samples of wine. 

Daniel scored us extra breadsticks at the end of the tasting and I laughed so hard about it, I cried. 
There is something to be said for having a day of imaginary pretension. Yes, I know nothing about wine, but damnit, it felt good to swirl it, sniff it, and swish it as though I were Dr. Frasier Crane himself. It added a touch of class to a life where I daily have cat litter stuck to my bare feet. 

These kinds of pattern interrupts are important. Just as inhaling is the key to enjoying a fine wine, doing awesome stuff is the key to enjoying a fine life. And it's okay to enjoy something cultural even if you are totally inept at it. Find a painting and explain its romantic influence to someone. Take a yoga class even if you can't touch your toes. Eat sweetbreads. Move to New York City.

When you let stuff like this into your life, even if some hipster criticizes you for being a poser, at least you're doing something. 

Anyway, moral of the story: Drink with your nose, live with your heart, and take weekend vacations to Charlottesville. 

What do you do to break up the monotony? What have been some of your favorite cultural experiences lately? Whatever it is, to you I say...


  1. Michael and I have actually probably been to ten wine tastings in the last two years (this, I just realized, is an area of my life you know nothing about). We are members of a wine society and meet every month and a half and our tastings have different themes: Italian wine night, everyday wines, new world wines (what you had at your vineyards), French reds, etc. It's pretty fun! I'm glad y'all had a good time, too.

    1. I learn something new about you every day! I want to come!

  2. Replies
    1. I bet she's getting a couple of whiffs in there! A+, Scherbatsky.

  3. I've been wanting to go to wine tasting so badly! Love this post. I'm getting my butt to Fredricksburg asap!

    1. Ooo! I've heard wonderful things about wine tasting in Fredericksburg, but I've never been. Do it!

  4. Wine. I love wine. Wine is fabulous.

    I would LOVE to go to a wine tasting or a vineyard. That would be awesome. And posh.

    I found your blog because I was searching INFJ stuff and I found your one post. So you have a new reader :)


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