Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wine and Football

I had an experience this past weekend that I just had to write about, mostly because it really fits into what this blog is really all about. Sirpa and I are the wine drinkers of our group of friends. A few others have gone tasting with us, or tried a few different wines, but nobody drinks and explores wine the way we do. It creates a very interesting dynamic when we bring out wine at a party, because most of the people there don't have a clue about what we are doing when we swirl, sniff, swirl again, sniff again, taste, and repeat.

On Saturday, I was over at a friend's place watching college football (Portland State, then Oregon, then Oregon State). Naturally, we were drinking beer throughout the day, as is usually what happens when guys and football are combined. Sirpa got off work and arrived around 7, and had brought with her the last of a bottle of 2003 Archery Summit Estate for us to taste and explore. I poured what was in the bottle into a glass, and proceeded to taste the wine. Now, I was in the kitchen during this time, with a small crowd of spectators watching me go through the tasting process. After getting a taste or three, and allowing Sirpa to taste a bit, I asked one of the guys if he wanted a taste. Now, there was still probably 5 or 6 tastes left in the glass, and I intended to let Sirpa have a few more before it was finished.

I handed the glass over, and after a quick sniff or two, the guy downed the wine like it was a shot, just opened his throat and let it go down. I really don't think it even hit his tongue. I was in shock, and I just stood there for a minute, not knowing what to say. It wasn't a huge deal, as both Sirpa and I had tasted it, and I wasn't planning on having any more, but I wasn't sure how to react to seeing somebody shoot a small glass of wine that was worth about $20. This just showed me how much the typical person does NOT know about drinking and enjoying wine.

Wine is not, and should not be, a chuggable beverage. Wine's purpose is not to get you drunk, though a good wine buzz can't be beat (probably has more to do with the good food and atmosphere than the actual physiological effects). Drinking wine is about exploring something new, and subtleties, and noticing how a Pinot Noir from one place can taste entirely different from the place next door. For a buzz, I'm going for beer, or maybe some mixed drinks. For enjoyment of atmosphere, experience, and reflection, wine is my beverage of choice. I'm just going to have to do a better job of describing the benefits of "tasting" wine, as opposed to "drinking" wine when I hand a glass to someone.


GollyGumDrops said...

I'd be interested to know what your 'chugger' thought to the wine. Did he want more? Did he say 'tastes like wine to me - huhuhu'?

It can be annoying when people treat good wine like cheap soda, but sometimes it's worth sharing it with non-wine drinkers. The most unlikely people get the bug.

John P said...

He said that it was pretty good, even though he wasn't much of a red wine drinker. I think he figured it to be a $10 bottle, and the typical cheap party wine, not an expensive bottle from a highly prestigious winery. If he would have actually taken the time to really taste it, I'm sure we could've talked about it for a few minutes.

Wine Limo said...

Yes it is always a wake up when you see someone drink wine like that! Doing wine tours for clients from all walks of life I have seen it before, not a good sign in reference to experience at tasting. Nor does it indicate and interest in the possibilities of wine flavors. It is an attitude that shows the point of view of the drinker without a word spoken.

I remember saying to the last client I had that did that, that is not a shot, and his response was I wish it were Tequila! Oh, sorry My mistake!

Zach said...

I have a number of friends like that also. Very amusing.

Norm Schoen said...

Hi John,
I came across your blog. Nice to see a fellow Oregonian and one from Portland to boot. Take a look at my blog. If you are interested I have a wine group that I seriously want to get some younger people (like yourself) to join.

Norm Schoen