Wine, like the art of eating with chopsticks, has always confounded me. Although I mysteriously got over the Chopstick Problem one fine day at a Japanese noodle house in LA with J, wine appreciation still eludes me. Indeed, I am such a plebeian that most wine gives me an instant and terrific headache.
On the occasions that it leaves my head alone, it leaves my taste-buds unmoved. What of the bouquet, the character, the feel, the vintage? Pshaw. It just tastes like grape juice left out of the refrigerator too long. Recently, however I had the opportunity to drink some Really Good wine. By which I mean, I had it on authority that it was Really Good- the evidence being my host's wine cellar. Now if someone has an actual wine cellar, I am jolly well going to believe them when they say the wine they are offering is Really Good.
And lo! The elegant glass full of shimmering ruby liquid held a big surprise. For the first time, I actually tasted something. This something was albeit pepper, but I was right, wasn't I? And when compared with the other wine on offer (yes, lots of wine glasses on that table) I could actually agree with the hostess when she explained how the first one was considered more 'feminine' than the second.
Phew. Some hope, finally. My philistine roots can perhaps be successfully concealed? No- on second thought, not for a long time. For when J brought home what he thought was a passable wine and sipped it to determine its character, we hit a blank wall. He said he thought he got a hint of chocolate in the first swirl. Well, I said eagerly, this has to be good, and took a generous swig. But what happened? Even after much swirling, I tasted naught. I had imagined myself reeling off a sophisticated list: chocolate, sunshine, a slight nutty aroma, definitely a fruit overtone...sigh. Instead, all I could pronounce was, "I taste a definite, in fact overpowering sourness, an aroma not unlike diesel fuel and nary a hint of chocolate."
Back to the drawing board then. It's still a long, hard road to becoming an oenophile, after all.