I don’t know about you, but I’ve always found the world of wine just a tad bit pretentious. Perhaps I label it so because it is a universe of which I am not a citizen. Fermented grapes have never done much for me, even in the days when hops and barley did.
My latest contact with the wine world came the other day at the Westnedge Avenue Meijer store, of all places. I’m walking down the wine aisle strictly as a shortcut to the Oreos, and a well-dressed woman felt the need to impart her wine wisdom on me.
“This is a wonderful chard for the price,” she said, picking up a bottle that had a leaf on it. I knew nothing of the brand or the wine, but the leaf was kind of cool.
“Uh-uh,” was my brilliant response, but my semi-grunt wasn’t enough to let her know that she may as well have been speaking in tongues. Perhaps she was.
Whatever language she was speaking, it was clear she wasn’t quite finished speaking it. “Oh, and I can’t even believe they have this cab,” she went on, quite impressed with herself and her discovery. “I buy a lot of wine here, and I’ve never seen this cab before.”
Chard? Cab? I grew up in a big city. When we used words like that, we were talking about burned-up taxis.
When I’m asked about wine in public, my wife, Kelle, better be by my side giving me the wine high sign. Otherwise, my glass is half-empty. “Did you say fine? You asked if I’m fine? Why yes, I’m fine. Thanks for asking. It’s pretty loud in here. Excuse me, have you seen Kelle?”
Luckily, there’s a portal into the world of wine that is the common man’s cup of tea. It’s a book by Natalie MacLean titled, Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass.
“Zinfandel with your Tex-Mex? Not a problem,” she says. “A little chardonnay with your fried chicken take-out? Delicious. Pinot Noir and wild boar? Why not?”
I like this lady. She takes the pretension out of her passion for Pinot. Her Web site (www.nataliemaclean.com) even has a matching tool that enables you to pair up just about any food imaginable with the proper wine. It matches wines with pizza, eggs, cheese and even Jello.
MacLean just might keep me from feeling like I’m over a barrel the next time wine comes up in conversation.
I wonder what you’re supposed to drink with Oreos?