Recommended wine for today’s entry: Tonight, I’m going over to my friend Jody’s and we’re going to open a bottle of Fat Bastard Pinot Noir. We’ll take a rainy, yucky night and liven it up with a bottle o’ the bastard: described on their Web site as “Lively and elegant with ripe red fruits and a hint of floral notes. Soft, smooth tannins and rich flavors of strawberries, raspberries, finishing with cherry notes.” It says that it pairs well with white meats, fish and salads. A good Friday night!
By now you all know that I am a foremost authority on wine. Some of you have sought my expertise outside the written word and I have — gladly — offered my learned advice on everything from a good wine pairing with grits to what kind of wine to drink while staking out a possum.
I describe wines I like as “yummy,” “super delish” (with apologies to Rachel Ray, but I did add the superlative here) and “way good” and “win-win.”
Because I am clearly not a wine expert in any way, shape or form, I rely heavily on my friends and readers to pass along their favorite wine suggestions. I also rely heavily on Internet search engines, where I copy and paste the words of the experts.
When I cut and paste, though, I am in awe of the knowledge and class of real wine people. This got me to thinking about all the different people who love wine… and I have divided them into three classes.
1) The oenophiles. They dabble in the trade, legally or illegally, of rare and aged wines. Vacations include trips to the French wine country; hobbies include gourmet cooking and searching for the perfect wine pairings.
These folks prefer their wines in the best goblets Baccarat or Waterford have to offer and can be found lounging by the fire in smoking jackets, sipping a Lafite Rothschild Cabernet.
They know what oenophile means without the dictionary.
They use beautiful terminology to describe the wines, such as “lively,” “lovely,” and “crisp.” They speak of the palate as often as they speak of their offspring. They extend their pinkie, even in their sleep.
2) The connoisseurs. These are often well-educated professionals who entertain frequently and generously offer the prized wines from their Tuscan-inspired brick wine cellars to their appreciative friends. This group vacations with other couples in Napa and Sonoma, shipping home cases of new finds to restock the cellar after their very thirsty guests have plowed through it.
They swirl the wine and then hold it in their mouths for an extended period of time while breaking down the exact type of dark fruit and possibly permanently staining their dental work. They can discern, somehow, the taste of tobacco from the taste of leather. They know what a tannin is.
They can spell connoisseur. They can even pronounce it without slurring on Saturday nights, because they’ve spit out most of their wine.
Group 2 pays top price for Reidel glassware from airline magazines and are often found performing surgery early in the morning after a long night of heavy sipping.
3) US. We’re the other 90 percent of American wine drinkers. We believe in a balance that leans slightly toward quantity but doesn’t ignore quality. We suck down a glass or two each night while emoting over Kate Gosselin’s pain or laughing ‘til we pass our pinot through our nose while watching King of the Hill.
We vacation with our families to Destin or Panama Beach, with a case of wine from the end-aisle display at Safeway packed into the backseat, wedged between the boogie boards and our youngest child’s car seat.
We try it all, as long as it is under $20 a bottle. We have Pier One glassware for everyday and Pottery Barn for special occasions. But a Dixie cup will do in a pinch.
For our birthdays and anniversaries, we order up at the restaurant, snubbing our everyday pink wines in favor of a highfalutin label that came highly recommended in funnierwithwine.
We can often be found toiling away at jobs that don’t pay well but provide a high level of satisfaction … or at jobs that don’t pay at all and frustrate the hell out of us. But we do it happily, because, as a reward, there is night and there is wine.
We know the smell of tobacco and the smell of leather because we’ve spent ample time in biker bars — and we know that we don’t want to taste things like that. We sometimes get mixed up and refer to our palate as our gullet, but our friends are non-judgmental and drunk and let it go without comment.
We use words like lively and lovely, but only to describe Mexican jumping beans and princesses. For wine, we prefer “yummy” and “delish” and “way good.” On first dates, we may go so far as to say “complex” because it is a wonderful wine descriptor that can’t be elaborated on, thus it is safe.
We proudly take our juice box wine to tailgating events and laugh at those who sheepishly ask if we have a corkscrew they can borrow.
We know what we like and we know who we are. We admire and appreciate the connoisseurs and the oenophiles and especially the vintners, but we know we are — and always will be — the most important cog in the wine industry!!
Here’s to us!